Angling to get ahead of new fears that the U.S. market may veer off-track with European financial markets in a sovereign default scenario, several members of Congress released a statement Thursday that called for the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, citing the vulnerability of growth to changes in international derivatives markets.[IMAGE]
The members of Congress fell along Democratic Party lines, with ""Rep. Barney Frank"":http://www.house.gov/frank/ (D-Massachusetts), ""Rep. Maxine Waters"":http://waters.house.gov/ (D-California), ""Rep. Stephen Lynch"":http://lynch.house.gov/ (D-Massachusetts) and ""Rep. Joe Courtney"":http://courtney.house.gov/ (D-Connecticut) coalescing around the issue.
""The possibility of default on Greek or other European debt dramatically illustrates the need for the United States to move forward rapidly to implement the reforms passed by Congress in the [Dodd-Frank] Act,"" the statement said. ""The difficulty in global financial markets is greatly exacerbated because we don't know who is exposed to what risks and how large those risks are. Consequently, renewed growth is at risk everywhere.""
According to the statement, recent stories in ""_The Financial Times_"":http://www.ft.com/home/uk, ""_The New York Times_"":http://www.nytimes.com/, and ""_The Wall Street Journal_"":http://online.wsj.com/home-page all pointed to American lending institutions ""with significant sums"" that would fall prey to a European market collapse on the occasion that Greece or another euro zone country defaults on its debt.[COLUMN_BREAK]
Placing the blame for slow implementation at the feet of Republicans, the statement added that ""[o]ur financial system needs more transparency and serious oversight, not less, and needs it sooner, not later... The [Dodd Frank] Act provides a path to that result, and we need to stay on it.""
Despite the assertion, much of Dodd-Frank remains tied-up with regulatory agencies that must abide by a standard process laid out by the Administrative Procedures Act, which mandates a string of proposal requirements, commentary periods, and economic impact analyses before new regulations go into effect. Agencies like the ""Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"":http://www.consumerfinance.gov/, ""FDIC"":http://www.fdic.gov/, and ""Office of the Comptroller of the Currency"":http://www.occ.treas.gov/ still need to finalize half of the approximately 387 rules needed to execute Dodd-Frank-related provisions.
A ""_New York Times_"":http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/business/global/23swaps.html?_r=2 story gave rise to growing anxiety about stability in the European markets on Wednesday last week, purporting to expose a hidden ""A.I.G."" element at the heart of the European financial and derivatives markets. The article helped sew new concerns about the tangled relationship tying together swaps, contracts, and sovereign debt.
Bob Davis, EVP of mortgage markets and public policy at the ""American Bankers Association"":http://www.aba.com/default.htm, warned against an excess of regulation, which some claim the Dodd-Frank Act represents.
He said that certain parts of Dodd-Frank, such as the controversial risk-retention rule, and recently proposed capital surcharge increases would hinder still-recovering banks.
""There's uncertainty [among banks] about the regulatory requirements"" stemming from Dodd-Frank, Davis said. Banks ""feel compelled to address the fact that they're going to have higher capital for the future with regard to higher capital requirements"" from Congress and the regulatory agencies, and this threatens to keep banks from lending.