Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Senate voted to bring a banking deregulation bill to the floor for consideration.
This bill rolls back key aspects of the 2010 Wall Street reform law; increases the chance of future taxpayer-funded bailouts, as analyzed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It creates new loopholes in the Volcker Rule, a provision Senator Merkley championed to shut down the high-risk Wall Street derivatives casino that contributed to the 2007 crash.
“Working Americans have not forgotten what happens when banks write their own rules, and neither should we. It was not so long ago when millions of Americans lost their homes, their jobs, and their savings because we allowed big banks to police themselves. Has the Senate forgotten so soon?
“A terrible provision in this bill allows small community banks to start trading derivatives – big bets on the future price of stocks, securities, and currency. It makes no sense to have shut down the Wall Street Casino only to reopen casinos in our community banks.
“This bill also opens the door to predatory practices in the manufactured and modular homes industry – enabling corporations to prey on some of the most vulnerable working Americans.
“And it weakens requirements that help fight discrimination in the home mortgage market. This is completely unacceptable.
“The bottom line is that this bill takes us backward — in a direction that the vast majority of Americans disagree with. Working Americans have never asked for higher bank profits that come at the expense of consumer protections and taxpayer-funded bailouts. The Senate should scrap this misguided piece of legislation and start over with a bill that puts consumers and working Americans first.”
Wyden Votes Against Anti-Consumer Senate Banking Bill
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today voted against legislation that would cut protections for consumers Congress put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.
The Senate banking bill weakens regulatory protections enacted after the 2008 financial crisis by substantially relaxing consumer protections and reducing the number of banks subject to heightened regulatory scrutiny.
“After the Equifax security breach and Wells Fargo customer abuses, it’s clear there’s more work to be done when it comes to protecting American consumers from big banks,” Wyden said. “Yet instead of working to provide more protections for hardworking families, this bill stacks the deck in favor of banks.
“Banks just got a big Republican tax cut. They don’t need an exemption from rules protecting consumers, now, too. I voted against this bill because banks don’t need any more help. Consumers do.”
Wyden successfully included in the broader legislation the bipartisan bill he wrote with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to boost local economies and businesses by providing small business owners better access to financial capital through credit unions. The Credit Union Residential Loan Parity Act would ensure that small residential housing loans do not count toward the business lending cap for credit unions.
Wyden also filed an amendment to the bill to require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to bring transparency to small business lending by identifying barriers that prevent women and minority entrepreneurs from starting small businesses. The amendment was not included in the bill that passed the Senate.