Wall Street Reform Becomes a Reality [Commentary]

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Wall Street Reform Becomes a Reality [Commentary]

Jul 16, 2010

Posted by Kristie Arslan - The Obama Administration can add another notch to their "win" column with the final passage this week of the financial regulatory reform bill.  The legislation is expected to be signed into law by the President next week. 


"From now on, every American will be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make financial decisions that are best for you. This bill will crack down on abusive practices and unscrupulous mortgage lenders. It will reinforce the new credit card law we passed banning unfair rate hikes, and ensure that folks aren’t unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. It will give students who take out college loans clear information and make sure lenders don’t cheat the system. And it will ensure that every American receives a free credit score if they are denied a loan or insurance because of that score. All told, this reform puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history, and it creates a new consumer watchdog to enforce those protections," remarked President Obama regarding the bill's passage.


To ensure that small business concerns were heard and addressed as part of the financial regulatory reform debate, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) worked with the Small Business Coalition for Regulatory Relief to fight for the inclusion of a provision that would lessen the negative impact on small business likely to arise from a flood of new federal mandates from the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Small Business Fairness and Regulatory Transparency Amendment authored by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), which was included in the final legislation, does two things:

  • First, it requires the CFPB to publicly consider how its new rules will impact the cost of credit for small firms and then take steps to minimize those additional costs. 
  • Second, the Snowe-Pryor amendment requires the CFPB to issue a small business report prior to finalizing those regulations that will most severely impact small firms regulated by the new agency.  The Small Business Advocacy Review Panel Reports will contain recommendations by the small business community on how to improve consumer protections in specific regulations without unnecessarily burdening small business.

This critical provision helps two parts of the small business community: firms that need credit and firms directly regulated by the CFPB. 


Almost 90 percent of America’s 26 million small businesses use some form of credit.  An economic study last year showed that the dozens of rules to be issued by the CFPB will tighten the credit squeeze, raising interest rates by 160 basis points.  The Snowe-Pryor provision in the new law will force the CFPB to re-consider how its regulations will affect small business access to capital and to minimize any additional cost of credit for small firms.

For more information, read a previous Commentary post on the reform legislation: Obama to Wall Street: Get on Board with Reform or Get Out of the Way [Commentary]

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