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Trump launches his attack on banks’ financial restraints

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Donald Trump held up an executive order after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House today in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump launched his long-promised attack today on banking rules that were rushed into law after the nation’s economic crisis, signing new orders after meeting with business and investment chiefs and pledging further action to free big banks from restrictions. Wall Street cheered him on, but Trump risks disillusioning his working-class voters.

He directed his Treasury secretary to review the devilishly complex 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, which was signed by President Barack Obama to overhaul regulations after the financial and housing crisis of the past decade. It aimed to restrain banks’ from misdeeds that many blamed for the crisis.

The new president also signed a memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay an Obama-era rule that requires financial professionals who charge commissions to put their clients’ best interests first when giving advice on retirement investments.

While the order on Dodd-Frank, named after its Democratic sponsors, won’t have an immediate impact, Trump’s intent is clear. The law has been a disaster in restricting banks’ activities, he said earlier this week. “We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank.”

During a meeting with business leaders, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on Friday, he said, “Frankly I have so many people, friends of mine that have nice businesses that can’t borrow money. They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let ‘em borrow because of the rules and regulations of Dodd-Frank.”

Those regulations unnecessarily cramp the U.S. economy and job creation, he declared. But many Democrats see it differently, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was behind the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, formed as part of the Dodd-Frank law.

“Donald Trump talked a big game about Wall Street during his campaign — but as president, we’re finding out whose side he’s really on,” Warren said in a statement. “The Wall Street bankers and lobbyists whose greed and recklessness nearly destroyed this country may be toasting each other with champagne, but the American people have not forgotten the 2008 financial crisis — and they will not forget what happened today.”

The crisis touched off the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression, wiping out $11 trillion in U.S. household wealth and leaving about 8 million Americans jobless. U.S. taxpayers funded multibillion-dollar bailouts of Wall Street mega-banks, smaller banks across the country and other financial firms.

Eight years on, the economy’s recovery has been halting, a situation that contributed to Trump’s election. Beyond being fed up with bailouts, consumers have an interest in the Financial Protection Bureau, which expanded regulators’ ability to police a wide array of financial products and services.

During his campaign, Trump pledged to repeal and replace the law, but he also railed against Wall Street excess and vowed to hold the industry accountable for the crisis. His rhetoric left questions about how closely he would align with the financial services industries’ years-long fight to undo regulations they view as burdensome.

Since winning the White House, Trump has cleared up some of those questions. He has filled his administration with millionaires and financiers and signed the orders after meeting with top CEOs and banking executives.

In his other action Friday, Trump’s presidential memorandum on financial advisers delayed implementation of the past administration’s “fiduciary rule,” aimed at blocking consultants from steering clients toward investments with higher commissions and fees that can eat away at retirement savings. The rule was to take effect in April.

The financial services industry argues that the rule would limit retirees’ investment choices by forcing asset managers to steer them to low-risk options.

Meanwhile, unwinding most of Dodd-Frank will require legislation, and on Capitol Hill the Republicans’ yearning to cut it down is as strong as ever. But tax reform, reworking “Obamacare” and other issues are more immediate priorities, some Republicans suggest. Further, the big Wall Street banks already have baked in many of the Dodd-Frank rules and aren’t clamoring to unwind all of them.

Aiming lower, in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, Congress passed and sent to Trump for his signature legislation striking down a rule that requires oil and gas companies to disclose payments to the U.S. or foreign governments for commercial development.

Critics warn that rolling back the Dodd-Frank regulations would put the economy at risk.

“You can blow up the financial system and really crush the American economy. I think that’s where they’re headed,” said Michael S. Barr, a former assistant treasury secretary for financial institutions and a key architect of the law.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a prime target within the law for Republican lawmakers, who have long accused it of overreach. But there are political risks in Trump taking a hatchet to a watchdog agency focused on protecting ordinary consumers against abusive practices by banks, mortgage companies, credit card issuers, payday lenders, debt collectors and others.

Over five years, the agency says, it has recovered $11.7 billion that it returned to more than 27 million harmed consumers.

“You could expect pushback, that this is about favoring Wall Street over Main Street,” said Phillip Swagel, an assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy in the George W. Bush administration.

Going after the bureau, Barr said, would likely hurt consumers, “including some of President Trump’s strongest supporters.”

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Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj

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  • Trump must be beholden to Wall Street, especially Goldman Sachs, since many of his Cabinet members and senior advisers have worked for Goldman Sacks. He also has a large number of shares in oil and gas companies. I really want to see his tax returns. Then we would be able to see how his policies are determined by his interest, investments, and holdings in these corporations

      • Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, was President of Goldman Sachs. SDuring his confirmation hearings he did not reveal he had $100,000,000 in assets, and he ran a hedge fund and tax haven in the Bahamas. During the financial meltdown in 2008, he bought Countrywide Mortgage Co. which had huge amounts of sub-prime mortgages. He then proceeded to foreclose on those Mortgages, with thousands of people losing their homes, while he and his company profited on all that real estate. That’s the kind of person who is now running the Treasury Department now.

        • Now Trump and Steve Mnuchin wants to get Dodd Frank Act, which regulated Wall Street and the banks from creating the same conditions and operating in the same way that led to the financial meltdown in 2008 and created the conditions for the Great Recession.

      • @Juris, that’s really parsing it. So what if Mnuchin “was” prez of Gold/Sachs? That doesn’t discount the association. The prez isn’t “getting rid of” G/S at all; he’s hiring them to work for him!

        Anyone that could possibly think the prez has any interest at all in “reigning in Wall Street” has got “rocks in your head, dad!” He’s going to open the doors wide and let all the bankers have their way, and the American people will have no choice but to bend over and take it. Kiss your savings goodbye! Personally, I’m selling off everything I can now, while people still have money.

      • Your statement that “Trump got rid of all the Goldman Sachs like he said he would” is blatantly false. If you believed Trump when he said he would get tough on Wall Street, you were a sucker.

        As reported by Wall Street On Parade:
        “Trump nominated Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs to be his Treasury Secretary. Stephen Bannon, another former Goldman Sachs banker, was named by Trump as his Chief Strategist in the White House. The sitting President of Goldman Sachs, Gary Cohn, has been named by Trump as Director of the National Economic Council, which, according to its website, coordinates “policy-making for domestic and international economic issues.” Last week, in a move that stunned even Wall Street, Trump nominated a Goldman Sachs outside lawyer, Jay Clayton of Sullivan & Cromwell, to serve as Wall Street’s top cop as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Adding to the slap in the face to Trump’s working class supporters, Clayton’s wife currently works as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs.

        “Goldman Sachs partner, Dina Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, is Ivanka’s “top adviser on policy and staffing.”

        “Then there is Erin Walsh who had worked at Goldman Sachs since 2010 as an Executive Director and head of its Office of Corporate Engagement for Asia Pacific. Walsh also previously worked in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Walsh is now part of Trump’s transition landing team for the State Department and is engaged in prepping the just retired CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, for his Senate confirmation hearing this week to become the Secretary of the Department of State, according to Politico.

        And there is yet another former Goldman Sachs banker, Anthony Scaramucci, who sits on Trump’s transition team.”

        • The collusion of the Trump team with Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, is just part of the problem. Rex Tillerson, ex CEO of Exxon Mobil, now Secretary of State, has a close relationship with Putin and has a $500,000,000,000 deal in Russia to provide oil and gas development services in the Russian Arctic and Arctic offshore and Siberia. Trump’says gutting of the EPA will allow the oil, gas, and facing industries to go ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump’s opposition to the Paris Agreement on climate change, is nothing more than a green light for the oil and gas industries to sell as much oil and gas, and allow more burning of fossil fuels which are polluting our environment and causing the warming of the planet, and causing the extremes and increasing the intensity of weather events.

  • So all of Trump’s campaign promises that he would “get tough” on Wall Street were lies. If you have a retirement account, your broker will no longer be required to give you advice that is in your best interest. Republican deregulation gave us the savings and loan catastrophe. Republican deregulation gave us the Great Recession. What disaster will Trump and his Wall Street banister pals deliver this time?

    • “The new president also signed a memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay an Obama-era rule that requires financial professionals who charge commissions to put their clients’ best interests first when giving advice on retirement investments.”

      Woah, so it’s now okay for retirement advisers to go for the biggest commissions rather than worry about what’s good for their hard working middle class clients?

      Trump saps, explain right how that will MAGA! Explain right now—or you’ll get sent to bed without your TV dinner!

  • As the weeks roll by and Prez Trump’s administration begin to form their concepts on parliamentry rule of the country, a bigger picture is forming that shows Trump is favoring Wall Street instead of Main Street USA and it seems that the average American is going to be forced to shoulder the tax burdens of this administration! The Average Americah is going to be paying the price for the electiion of Donald Trump to the Presidency; while Wall Street and it’s exec’s will be able to reap a hefty windfall of profits from the recinded regulations that kept them in check!

    • By getting rid of the Volker Act, investment bankers can return to investing their clients hard earned money in risky investments, risky hedge funds and derivatives loaded with subprime mortgages and worthless paper. We are heading back to the same Wall Street manipulation of the financial markets that led to the financial meltdown in 2008, and gave us the Great Recession.

    • Actually middle America is pretty happy. Trump is doing what he said during his campaign, e.g. bringing jobs back home, removing regulatory barriers, protecting America by getting tough on immigrants, etc. If you’re familiar with Dodd Frank, it went way too far with excessive regulations which would make financial institutions behave more like utilities. If you follow financial news, the vast majority of major US companies are much more confident on policy direction than under Obama. Hence, the stock market zoomed up since election. Having said this, yup, Trump continues to say strange things but I guess the media loves it.

  • For all their talk about right-wing values, the driving force of the GOP is mostly wealthy white dudes who want the rich (themselves) to get richer. Because there aren’t enough of them to win elections, they recruit the support of the undereducated who can’t distinguish fake news from real news, and who fall prey to simplistic, deceptive sloganism.

    Hear that, Trumpzis? If you are not a fat cat who profits off the sweat of laborers or generous government bailouts, you are a sap being used by those fat cats.

    So after you realize your situation hasn’t improved and you’ve been had, vote against those who’ve used you. Think for yourselves. Hear that, saps?

  • How could any American be happy about this? President Bush deregulated Wall Street and they went crazy putting us into a recession we’re still recovering from. This is not for the people, but rather for POTUS Trump and his billionaire cronies. It’s the same ‘ol wine in a brand new bottle- let the pillaging begin.

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