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December 6, 2013

Volcker-Rule Critic Raskin Seen as a Voice for Consumers

When Federal Reserve governors voted in 2011 on the Volcker rule ban on banks’ proprietary trading, Sarah Bloom Raskin was alone in opposition. For her, it wasn’t tough enough.

Raskin will be among the regulators voting next week on the final version of the rule, which is likely to be stricter than the original proposal. Later this month, the Senate may decide whether to confirm her as the Treasury Department’s No. 2 official and its highest-ranking woman ever.

Raskin, a Harvard Law School graduate, has criticized the speculative bets banks make with their own capital as an “activity of low or no real economic value.” As Maryland’s top financial regulator from 2007 to 2010, she took on payday lenders and helped write legislation giving homeowners more time to avoid foreclosure. That record suggests that at Treasury she’ll be hard on the financial industry and protective of consumers.

“’She’ll have the fortitude to ask the uncomfortable questions,’ said Dennis Kelleher, who is president of Washington-based Better Markets Inc., a non-profit group that backs stricter bank regulation, and is a former chief counsel to the chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Her initial dissent on the Volcker rule shows ‘she was ahead of everybody else,’ he said.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

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