DODD-FRANK OR NO DODD-FRANK?

Another Order was signed by President Trump on Friday, February 3rd that may have a substantial impact on those of us in the financial services industry, or at least we think it might, maybe, possibly?

After a White House meeting with business executives on Friday, Mr. Trump signed a directive calling for a rewriting of major provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, crafted by the Obama administration and passed by Congress in response to the 2008 financial crisis.  The executive order affecting the Dodd-Frank Act was very vague and never mentioned the law itself but laid out “Core Principles” for regulations that include: promoting independent consumer choices, preventing bailouts, and tailoring regulations and ensuring regulatory accountability.  The Order directs Treasury to meet with heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to review how existing laws align with administration goals.

President Trump stated on Friday that the Order is intended to help both Wall Street and working Americans as his administration eases constraints on banks and allows them to lend more to companies, which could then hire more workers.  “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can’t borrow money,” Mr. Trump said in the State Dining Room during his meeting with business leaders. “They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let them borrow it because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank.”

One thing to keep in mind, this stroke of the pen did not repeal Dodd-Frank.  It is still the law and requires the regulatory agencies to continue to enforce the rules and regulations established by the law.  The Order did, however, place a challenge in front of the Treasury to peel Dodd-Frank back one layer at a time and look at the impact it has had on the financial sector.  “There seems to be a general consensus that the Dodd-Frank bill has been overly burdensome on small community banks, with compliance costs through the roof and loan growth to small businesses and individuals (via mortgages) anemic,” added Jeffrey Miller, partner at Eight Bridges Capital Management. “A revision or removal of some of the worst of the regulations, particularly for mortgages, will be very beneficial for consumers.”

So for now it’s business as usual for financial institutions; however, we continue to keep an eye out for the results of the Treasury study.  The initial report is due within 120 days.  Let’s just hope they can complete a study faster than they can write a regulation!

Below is the link to the Order:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/03/presidential-executive-order-core-principles-regulating-united-states

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