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Federal bank regulators defend efforts before House committee

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee [official website] heard testimony [materials; recorded video] Wednesday from banking industry regulators, but dismissed their prior efforts as ineffective. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision John Bowman, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman Sheila Blair defended [Reuters report] their past efforts, making a case for their continued oversight of the banking industry. In a prepared statement [text, PDF], Dugan said he agreed with many of the proposals currently being considered, but did not agree with an expanded regulatory role for the Federal Reserve or the broad power being considered for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). In response, Chairman Barney Frank criticized efforts [WSJ report] by the regulators to oversee the banking industry. By publicly dismissing current regulators' concerns and making concessions on the CFPA, it appears as though lawmakers are ready to move forward with plans [NYT report] for the new agency, which President Barack Obama proposed [JURIST report] in June.

Obama has repeatedly called for greater oversight of the banking industry. Earlier this month, Obama marked the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman by calling for more stringent regulation [JURIST report] of the financial services industry. In July, the administration sent Congress draft legislation [JURIST report] laying out many of the proposals Obama had made in the June statement concerning the CFPA. Obama also made a plea for greater regulation [JURIST report] in a February speech to a joint session of Congress.

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