After five years of the Dodd-Frank law, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said it is safe to say America and Congress can do much better than the bloated, comprehensive law. Speaking yesterday on the Senate floor, Enzi said that the law’s thousands of pages of regulations designed to secure financial markets and protect consumers have failed at the most basic level and continue to cause a myriad of other problems.
“This mammoth bill has five years later led to regulations that do not fix ‘too big to fail’, unduly burden our community banks and credit unions, cover a host of industries that didn’t contribute to the financial crisis and compromise the privacy of Americans,” Enzi said.
Since the law passed, Enzi has said that in every visit he has had with bankers in Wyoming one main subject has remained constant, they are being crushed under the weight of the Dodd-Frank regulations and having to make tough choices about the services they provide. While the compliance cost under Dodd-Frank for larger institutions is about 12 percent of operating costs, the cost for community banks is about 30 percent.
“That’s a big bite,” Enzi said.
Notwithstanding the impact on the community banks, Enzi said the most appalling aspect of the Dodd-Frank law was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), whose reach has increased exponentially over the past five years. Along with regulating groups they are explicitly prohibited from taking enforcement action against, like the auto industry, the CFPB has also been engaged in massive data collection since 2011.
A report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office showed that the CFPB is collecting financial information on millions of Americans, some of which has personally identifiable information that is supposedly removed or not used, and they do not have appropriate safeguard to protect this information. This information includes 700,000 automobile sales per month, 10.7 million consumer credit reports per month, 25-75 million individual credit card accounts, 29 million active mortgage loans and 173 million total loans, as well as one-time collections of 5.5 million private student loans and 15-40 million payday loans.
“There is no way for a single American to opt out of this collection, or require notification that their information is being collected and stored,” Enzi said. “Not only that, there’s really no way for Congress to have a say, to exert oversight and take a closer look at what the CFPB is up to.”
Because the CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve, Enzi said Congress really doesn’t have a say over the agency, and the agency doesn’t have much incentive to report to Congress.
“Some people say if it’s worth reacting to, it is worth overreacting to, and that is exactly what happened here and we did it through a comprehensive bill, 2,300 pages,” Enzi said.