NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Three Ways to Fix Dodd Frank

November 7, 2014

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has a number of flaws, but the new Congress should at least enact three simple fixes, argues Paul Kupiec, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Dodd-Frank was passed in 2010 to regulate the financial industry, and the law brought some major changes to the banking world. While outright repeal is unlikely right now, Kupiec suggests that Congress take three easy steps improve the bill:

  • Raise the threshold for oversight. Currently, bank holding companies that have at least $50 billion in assets are required to meet a number of regulations that are incredibly expensive and burdensome. Many of the banks subject to this requirement pose little risk to the American financial system. Kupiec suggests lifting that trigger from $50 billion to $250 billion to relieve pressures on many of the banks currently subject to the regulation.
  • Eliminate the ability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to designate nonbank firms as "systemically important financial institutions" (SIFIs), which leads to greater supervision from the Federal Reserve. The FSOC's reasoning behind the SIFI determination are kept secret. Kupiec argues the process is kept opaque because the reasons are weak and would not survive public scrutiny. The says the ability of FSOC to slap the SIFI label on an institution "makes a mockery of property rights and due process," and urges Congress to do away with FSOC's expansive power.
  • Reform the "living will" requirement. Large bank holding companies are required to submit "living wills" (reorganization plans in the event of bankruptcy) to the federal government. Kupiec contends that it makes little sense to focus on hypothetical reorganization and says the wills should focus on breaking up into smaller entities in the case of bankruptcy.

Kupiec writes that these proposals should gain support from both parties and would do much to relieve banks of regulatory costs.

Source: Paul Kupiec, "Three Easy Fixes to Dodd-Frank," Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2014.


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