President Barack Obama this morning signed the Dodd-Frank Act calling it a “common sense” package of wide-range reform of the financial market and its regulation. The law will “crack down on abusive practices in the mortgage industry…so folks know what they’re signing,” Obama said in remarks before signing. The financial industry is already hailing the legislation as potentially the largest piece of financial reform since the post-Depression era. “It is a victory for all of us that a new systemic risk council will weed excess risk out of financial institutions before they pose a threat to the entire system and that any institution that moves too close to cliff’s edge will be quickly dismantled by a powerful new resolution process,” said Richard Neiman, superintendent at the New York State Banking Department, in an e-mailed statement today. “Further, the derivatives exposures that led to the near collapse of [American International Group] and exacerbated the financial crisis will be curtailed and made more transparent by mandatory centralized clearing and exchange trading of most derivatives,” Neiman added. “Overall, banks will be held accountable for risks they pose and mortgages they securitize, and will be prohibited from trading for their own profits rather than for their customers.” In the Senate, the reconciled reform package passed the cloture hurdle and then squeaked through a full vote with 60 Senators in favor on July 15. The House version of the bill had already passed. (Download a copy of the bill by clicking here.) A handful of Republican Senators previously against the reform came on board earlier this month, finally shifting majority votes in favor. One of those Republicans, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), shifted his vote in support of the financial reform after a $19bn bank tax was removed. Additional Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. fees were inserted, which drew fire from industry groups that expressed concern over “yet another regulatory cost imposed on the many traditional banks that had nothing to do with causing the financial crisis.” In the mortgage finance space, there are still some concerns that the bill does not address how to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship. Write to Diana Golobay.
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