The Washington Post

President Trump

- BY ERICA WERNER erica.werner@washpost.com Renae Merle contribute­d to this report.

signed a bill easing the Dodd-Frank banking regulation­s — a rollback that Barney Frank has described as leaving his rules largely in place.

President Trump on Thursday signed into law a bill that rolls back banking regulation­s passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, declaring it a “big deal for our country.”

The measure, which passed the House this week, leaves the central structure of the post financial- rules in place, but it makes the most significan­t changes to weaken the Dodd- Frank banking regulation­s since they were passed in 2010. It exempts some small and regional banks from the most stringent regulation­s and also loosens rules aimed at protecting the biggest banks from sudden collapse.

At a signing ceremony at the White House, Trump said the legislatio­n “rolls back the crippling Dodd-Frank regulation­s that are crushing community banks and credit unions nationwide.

They were in such trouble. One size fits all — those rules just don’t work.”

But he also suggested that the measure, which leaves the strictest federal oversight regulation­s in place for the biggest banks, should perhaps do more to help them, too.

“We’re going to have to start looking at that also for the larger institutio­ns, because they also are put at a disadvanta­ge in terms of loaning money to people wanting to open up businesses, so perhaps we’ll be taking a look at that,” Trump said.

Some changes to help Wall Street banks could happen by regulation, and federal regulators are expected to take steps later this month toward relaxing one of the most controvers­ial aspects of Dodd-Frank, known as the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from making some risky bets.

The new law’s supporters say it provides needed relief for community and local banks struggling to extend credit as they chafe under Washington’s regulation­s. But critics charge it opens the financial system back up to the abuse and risky behavior that crippled the U.S. economy a decade ago — and does so at a time when financial firms are posting record profits.

The House passed the plan Tuesday, following Senate approval in March. Republican­s overwhelmi­ngly supported the bill, while Democrats remain divided. The bill passed the Senate with support from 17 members of the Democratic caucus, but it was fiercely opposed by progressiv­es in an intraparty fight that at times turned personal.

The final measure represents a compromise that leaves the overall structure of the post-financialc­risis rules in place and does not touch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency created after the crisis.

Trump had vowed to “do a big number” on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and some House Republican­s had hoped to repeal the law entirely — or at least make major changes to rein in the watchdog agency.

Under the new law, banks with more than $50 billion in assets would no longer be automatica­lly subject to the toughest federal regulation­s, including a yearly stress test to prove they could survive another onslaught of economic turmoil. The bill would raise that threshold to $250 billion in assets, potentiall­y allowing several high-profile financial institutio­ns, including American Express and Ally Financial, to escape the extra regulatory scrutiny.

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