Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate passed the so-called Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Marc Jarsulic, senior vice president for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress and former chief economist for the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement:
It is almost unbelievable that virtually ten years to the day after the start of Bear Stearns’ collapse, senators of both parties voted to deregulate 25 of the nation’s largest 38 banks—banks that collectively hold one-sixth of the assets in the banking sector—and loosen some post-crisis rules on the largest Wall Street banks. Make no mistake: This legislation increases the likelihood that workers, homeowners, investors, and taxpayers will once again bear the burden of another financial crisis. At a time of record bank profitability, approval of this legislation is an inexplicable step backwards in the fight to prevent future financial crises and bank bailouts by passing a major financial deregulation bill.
Under the guise of community bank relief, the Senate has undermined protections for homebuyers, despite the central role that housing played in the last financial crisis. Weakening Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting leaves mortgage lenders off the hook for future housing discrimination. Fig-leaf provisions that purport to protect consumers do not distract from the reality that this bill fails to address the Wells Fargo and Equifax scandals. In an era where Trump-appointed regulators are already signaling to banks that they are off the hook, there is no reason for the Senate to open the door to risky financial practices for which their constituents will ultimately pay the price.
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