In the halls of Congress and in the halls of Wall Street it wasn’t all about Comey Thursday.
The House of Representatives approved a bill (helmed by Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling) aimed at reversing, at least in part, Dodd-Frank, the post-financial crisis legislation that instituted numerous rules changing the way the financial services industry operates.
The Financial CHOICE Act, as it is known for short, would deregulate a fair chunk of Dodd-Frank’s mandates. Though widely expected to be watered down if not scuttled by the Senate (which is working on its own bill tied to financial reform), the House action does have some features that cheer proponents of deregulation.
CNBC reported that some of the provisions that would alter the financial regulatory landscape include provisions that would help banks skirt stress tests being levied annually on banks, and the elimination of a liquidation fund that is designed to help large institutions unwind their operations.
That feature is being replaced by a provision tied to the bankruptcy code. In addition, a fiduciary rule would also be scuttled, which requires brokers to act in the best interests of their clients.
Among other items: The House bill, which passed by a vote of 233-186, would, as Seeking Alpha and other sources note, transform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB would be given the name the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency. In a structural shift, and a nod to controversies wending their way through courts, the director (currently Richard Cordray) would have to answer to the president. Also key is the elimination of the Volcker Rule, which restricts speculative investments by banks.
In other changes, leverage of smaller lenders — at a leverage ratio of 10 percent or more — may be exempt from some regulations.
Amid bank stocks that rallied: Shares of Bank of America were up 1.6 percent to just under $23. Citigroup shares were up 2 percent to $63.21 at the end of the session.