With the Dodd-Frank financial reform law celebrating its fifth anniversary this month, the editors at Investor's Business Daily have offered their assessment of the Obama administration centerpiece.
The review isn't positive.
"It's a pernicious law, one that a devastating new report suggests is largely to blame for our lackluster economy," an IBD editorial states.
The report was House testimony offered by American Enterprise Institute fellow Peter Wallison Tuesday.
"I believe that all the new regulation added by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 is the primary reason for the slow growth this country has experienced since 2010," he said. Economic growth has averaged 2.3 percent during that period.
IBD editors note that a key aim of the Dodd-Frank law was to eliminate the notion of too-big-to-fail banks. "It sounded good at the time. But in fact, it's had the exact opposite effect, leading to a decline in small banks and rising market share for the very largest," they note.
The biggest four banks — Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America — have increased their share of deposits since the 2008 financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Debbie Hoffman, chief legal officer at Digital Risk, appears to agree with the IBD editors. She says regulators have gone too far in cracking down on banks to make them safer.
"Excessive regulation runs the risk of leaving a fragile economy starved of the capital it needs to grow," she writes in USA Today.
"It is critical that regulatory policy encourages banks to get back into the business of lending again, something they have been reluctant to do in the wake of the financial crisis."
For example, the Federal Reserve adopted a rule last week requiring eight systemically important banks to keep more capital.
"Its purpose is to retain financial stability in the United States in the event of a bank failure. But it may not be doing enough to facilitate lending and stimulate economic growth," Hoffman says.
But USA Today editors disagree.
"The Fed’s approach is constructive. The stricter capital rules will give banks bigger rainy-day funds during times of volatility," they write.
"Pegging them to overnight lending will discourage banks from engaging in risky behavior. And, as a total package, the tougher standards might even persuade some banks to break up."
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