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February 15, 2013

February 14, 2013 – Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled "Wall Street Reform: Oversight of Financial Stability and Consumer abd Investor Protections."

The Senate Banking Committee was the first congressional panel to conduct Dodd/Frank related hearings in the 113th Congress. Chairman Johnson took the opportunity in his opening remarks to announce the results of a GAO study he had requested, along with Congressman Capuano, to determine the economic cost of the 2007 -2009 downturn. GAO reported the cost could be as much as 13 trillion dollars.

Ranking members Crapo raised a number of pressing issues in his statement including his call for more extensive cost/benefit studies and the possible need for margin requirements for derivative end users.

The witness were seven representatives of federal financial regulators who reported on their progress to complete the remaining rules needed to fully implement the financial reform law.

Questions from the Senators in attendance covered many topics such as the final definition of a QRM and issue around the process used by the regulators to negotiate rather than litigate settlements in cases against those financial institutions who have acted improperly.

Of particular interest was an effort by Senator Crapo to get each representative to pledge that their agency would conform to OMB requirements for cost/benefit studies despite the fact the the requirements did not apply to independent agencies. The representative of the FED and the CFTC offered alternatives views and the Senator pulled back his pledge request after he received  the agreement of all witness to send to the Committee copies of their cost/benefit procedures.

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