House Passes Bill to Weaken Dodd-Frank Act

According to Bloomberg, an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act was passed on Wednesday that would limit the extent to which the rule would affect large banks. The bill would essentially remove the “swaps push out” aspect of the rule, which forces banks to move their derivatives activity to affiliates that don’t have access to deposit insurance or discounted borrowing.

The initial purpose of the push out provision was to help guard against some of the riskier trading done by banks and prevent a situation similar to the financial crisis of 2008. However, both banks and regulators like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke have warned that if the Dodd-Frank Act isn’t amended, swaps trading may begin to shift to less regulated entities.

The amendment would allow what some are calling more basic derivatives trading to occur, while not affecting more complex and riskier trades.

While the bill has passed in the House with bipartisan support, it seems likely to be more of a token gesture, as chances of it passing through the Democrat- majority Senate are very slim. The White House has also expressed contention with the bill, stating that it’s not the time to make amendments, as the focus should be on actually finishing the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. For now, banks should continue to make preparations to adjust to the rule as it currently exists.

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