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The financial regulation takeaway

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Although some elements of the financial regulatory overhaul could change as lawmakers reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions, the landmark legislation that the Senate passed Thursday sets out some winners and losers in the industry.

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Winners

-- Community banks: Exempt from the hefty regulatory fees assessed on larger banks and left mostly free of a new consumer watchdog bureau's oversight.

-- Hedge funds: Could reap a windfall if big banks are ultimately forced to spin off their derivatives-trading businesses.

-- Derivatives exchanges: Mandatory clearinghouses for derivatives trades could make their expertise in the market for these securities more valuable and increase their business.

-- Institutional investors: Gain greater say over the makeup of corporate boards.

Losers

-- Community banks: Hit by restrictions on an investment commonly used to satisfy minimum reserve requirements.

-- Big banks: Face new restrictions that could cut their profitability by barring them from trading with their own money and forcing them to spin off some lucrative trading operations.

-- Credit card companies: Have far less power over fees charged to retailers on credit-card transactions.

-- Consumer credit lenders: Pawnbrokers and payday lenders would be subject to greater scrutiny from the consumer protection watchdog.

-- Ratings agencies: Face new legal liability if their judgments on the safety of investments turn out to be wrong.


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