By Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON Aug 19 President Barack Obama called
top U.S. financial regulators to the White House on Monday,
instructing them to speed up Wall Street reforms in the face of
intense bank lobbying.
Roughly five years after the depths of the financial crisis,
regulators have completed about 40 percent of the rules called
for in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
Agencies have missed numerous deadlines as they struggle to
coordinate with one other and also consider feedback from the
financial industry, consumer groups, Congress and others.
In a readout of the afternoon meeting, the White House said
Obama and the officials talked about ways the regulators could
better coordinate, among other topics.
"The president commended the regulators for their work but
stressed the need to expeditiously finish implementing the
critical remaining portions of Wall Street reform to ensure we
are able to prevent the type of financial harm that led to the
Great Recession from ever happening again," the statement said.
A White House spokesman also reiterated before the meeting
the importance of independent regulatory agencies resisting
pressure from big banks to water down rules.
Officials from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and
other agencies attended the meeting. They left the White House
without briefing reporters about the discussion.
September will mark the fifth anniversary of the bankruptcy
of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank whose failure roiled
markets and is often viewed as a low in the financial crisis.
The Dodd-Frank law, which Congress passed in response to the
meltdown, called for hundreds of new rules, including new
oversight of the massive swaps market, mortgages and consumer
financial products, and large nonbank financial firms.
Regulators have particularly wrestled with drafting the
Volcker rule, which forbids banks from making risky trades with
their own money. That reform is more than a year behind
schedule, as five different agencies try to agree on a single
The Volcker rule and other Dodd-Frank reforms have been the
subject of intense lobbying by Wall Street firms hoping to shape
the rules in their favor. Republicans in Congress also claim
Dodd-Frank piles too many new requirements on banks and could
wind up restricting credit availability.
"Dodd-Frank is an incomprehensively complex piece of
legislation that is harmful to our floundering economy and in
dire need of repeal," Representative Jeb Hensarling, a
Republican and the chairman of the House of Representatives
Financial Services Committee, said in a statement on Monday.
Beyond Dodd-Frank, the White House said the president and
top regulators also discussed efforts to revamp housing finance
in the United States and the challenges posed by smaller