Industry execs-turned-regulators are undoing Obama-era rules.
By Robert Schmidt and Jesse Hamilton
In early February, with the Treasury secretary testifying about wild gyrations in the stock market and the Federal Reserve leveling unprecedented penalties against Wells Fargo & Co., it may have felt like 2008 again, with the financial system under siege. In reality, banks are booming, at least in Washington.
As the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis approaches, many of the restrictions put in place to rein in Wall Street risk-taking are quietly being unwound. The Senate is considering legislation that would remove dozens of major banks from stepped-up oversight. The bill has broad Republican support and has been endorsed by 11 Democrats. In recent months a handful of the federal agencies that supervise financial companies have taken steps to revise two complex rules—one restricting trading and one requiring extra capital—that banks have long complained cost them millions of dollars in profits.
Other requirements are also being eased, including the stress tests the government uses to measure banks’ abilities to withstand economic shocks. Conducted by the Fed, the tests were widely credited with restoring public confidence in the financial system after the 2008 meltdown.