When Christopher J. Dodd announced in January that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate, he called reform of financial regulation, along with health care, “the two most important issues of our time,” and pledged to spend his last year in Congress “fully focused” on his legislative duties. But as Mr. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, prepares a proposal to overhaul financial regulation, to be released possibly as early as this week, he is finding that complete focus may not be enough. Details of part of his plan became public in news reports on Friday. The most hotly disputed elements — the creation of a consumer protection agency to watch for deceptive and abusive terms on mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and other financial products — are a reminder of how intense lobbying and partisan gridlock threaten to significantly weaken what the Obama administration has called a top priority. “The financial services lobby and particularly the big banks are driving the agenda right now,” Travis B. Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America, said. “They are the ones gaining ground. Their strategy is clear: death by a thousand cuts.”