The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 promises: "to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes."
But will it do that?
The 60 senators who backed the bill say it will — with varying degrees of certainty and enthusiasm.
Here’s Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, one of the best players in the chamber on regulatory issues:
“Today the Senate sent a clear message that the financial security of families and businesses on Main Street must always come before the short-term profits of Wall Street. For decades, we let rampant deregulation and deceptive lending practices undermine families’ well-being, poison our financial system and ultimately bring the economy to its knees. This bill will help restore safety and soundness to our financial system and ensure that working families get a fair deal in their everyday financial transactions.
“I am pleased that the final bill includes the Merkley-Levin amendment that will ban high-risk trading inside the banks and put an end to conflicts of interest, where giants like Goldman Sachs bet against the very securities they were selling to their customers. This provision will encourage banks to return to the days where their main focus was lending. I can’t thank Senator Carl Levin enough for his tireless work to ensure that our banks won’t engage in high-risk trading and put our entire financial system at risk.
“In addition, I’m pleased that the bill includes provisions I championed to end some of the most egregious mortgage practices that led to the housing crisis and cost millions of families their homes. The bill will ban steering payments, liar loans, and prepayment penalties and give Americans the transparency they deserve when purchasing their own home. It will also create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dedicated to protecting consumers from financial tricks and traps, such as unfair overdraft fees and exploding interest rates.
“Now, this bill will not solve every problem in our financial system, and from my perspective, could be stronger in significant ways. Regulators have been given an enormous amount of responsibility to implement the bill as intended. In order to ensure that they hold up their end of the bargain, Congress needs to conduct vigorous oversight of government regulators and our financial markets.
“Overall, this bill sets our nation on the right path. There is more work to do to fix the failures of the past, but this bill lays the groundwork for a stronger and more stable economy and levels the playing field for our working families and small businesses on Main Street. I commend Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd for his dedication to getting this bill passed and restoring fairness for middle class families across America.”