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ABA President Calls for End of 'Too Big to Fail' Policies

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The president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA) praised efforts to end government policies that protect financial institutions deemed “too big to fail,” and voiced his group’s opposition to the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) in a letter to the leading members of the Senate Banking Committee. In a public letter sent to committee chair Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), ABA president and CEO Edward Yingling supported calls to end “too big to fail” policies. Dodd and Shelby issued a joint statement detailing the committee’s efforts. Yingling said the ABA supports strengthening consumer protections, but said the CFPA was not the correct solution “because of the unworkable conflicts it will inevitably have with a bank’s prudential regulator, the increased regulatory costs and burdens on traditional banks, the sweeping new powers it is given…and the lack of sufficient focus on the shadow banking system,” he wrote. Instead, Yingling wrote, the ABA supports “an approach that requires more focus on consumer issues, greater coordination and more accountability by the regulators.” The ABA supports the committee’s goals to streamline and modernize financial regulation, as well as modernizing oversight of the derivatives market, Yingling wrote. In addition, he wrote, while changes are needed in the securitization process, the association’s position is that proposed risk retention requirements may undermine the availability of credit. “We strongly support reform, but at the same time believe it should be focused on the causes of the financial crisis and preventing future crises and not impose heavy new regulatory burdens on traditional banks that did not cause the crisis,” he wrote. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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