In an effort to reform the way big banks and other major investment houses conduct business, President Obama on July 21 signed into law a bill aimed at protecting consumers and ensuring economic stability all the way from Main Street to Wall Street.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection financial overhaul bill promises to be the most sweeping of any financial reform statute since the reforms that addressed the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Minutes before signing the historic measure which would have global implications, Obama said that protections within the bill would be enforced by a new consumer watchdog agency whose only job will be to look out for people as they interact with the country’s financial system.

“And that’s not just good for consumers, that’s good for the economy,” Obama said, according to remarks released by the White House. “Because reform would put a stop to a lot of the bad loans that fueled a debt-based bubble,” he continued. “It will mean that all companies will have to seek customers by offering them better products instead of more deceptive ones.”

The president said that in addition to the consumer protections outlined in the bill, reformation of the financial system would also clamp down on the abuse and excess that almost ruined it two years ago.

“It will finally bring transparency to the kinds of complex, risky transactions that helped trigger the financial crisis,” said Obama. “Shareholders will also have a greater say on the pay of CEOs and other executives so that they can reward success instead of failure.”

More importantly, Obama promised that taxpayers will never again have to worry about footing the bill for mistakes made by Wall Street. According to Obama, “There will be no more tax-funded bailouts, period.”

Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, heralded the bill as a watershed in efforts to restore common sense to lending and financial markets.

“Our nation now has a roadmap for ending the unfair and deceptive practices that have cost millions of families their financial security and nearly capsized the economy,” Calhoun said in a statement.

But high-ranking Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were less enthusiastic, saying the bill will significantly undermine efforts to revamp the country’s already deeply troubled jobs market.

“Job-stifling taxes, regulations, government intrusion – these appear to be the three pillars of every Democratic legislative effort,” McConnell told the Associated Press. “They are also the three things lawmakers can do that are guaranteed to kill more jobs.”

Obama responded by labeling McConnell and his supporters “a partisan minority determined to block change.”

The Financial Reform Law:

*Creates the Consumer Protection Bureau that will insure consumers will have available to them accurate and reliable information when shopping for mortgage, credit cards and other financial products. Also will protect consumers from hidden fees, abusive terms and deceptive practices;

* Allowance for the government to take over troubled financial institutions that, because of their large sizes, could tumble and damage the U. S. economy. In that event, the government could sell the institutions and save taxpayers from assuming cost of the collapses.

*Requirements for banks to keep additional cash in reserve for potential losses from bad investments, and assurance that complex transactions would be more tightly regulated.

Click here for a full summary of the Dodd-Franklin Act of 2010

 

DorothyRowley

AFROStaffWriter