July 15, 2010

CARDIN SAYS REFORM PASSED BY THE SENATE WILL SHINE LIGHT OF TRANSPARENCY ON WALL STREET AND PROTECT MARYLAND CONSUMERS

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) praised today's passage by the Senate of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act . The conference report, which reconciled differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, included a number of key amendments authored by Senator Cardin such as a provision to increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries; permanently increase the insurance limits for FDIC deposits to $250,000; provide whistleblower protections for employees at credit rating agencies; and provide a flexible structure for addressing supervision of nonbank entities like mutual funds.

 

"Main Street Americans and small businesses are the real winners after Senate passage of the most significant reform of Wall Street in nearly a decade," said Senator Cardin. "The bill the Senate just passed provides a common-sense regulatory structure to protect our nation from another financial crisis.  It strikes the right balance with strong investor and consumer protections, and it ends the reckless gambling by Wall Street that created the need for too-big-to-fail taxpayer funded bailouts.   This bill will shine the light of transparency on Wall Street while protecting consumers and empowering them to make informed choices that affect their financial future."

 

Below is a list of provisions introduced by Senator Cardin:

 

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION LIMITS

 

A Cardin-Enzi-Brownback amendment included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act makes permanent the temporary increase in the federally-insured deposit limit from $100,000 to $250,000.   An increase in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) limit is significant because deposit insurance has been the stabilizing force of our nation's banking system for 75 years.

 

"By raising the limit permanently, we provide safe and secure depositories for small businesses and individuals alike.   FDIC insurance prevents bank runs and has been proven to increase public confidence in the system. Ensuring a stable funding source for community banks, which rely on deposits, helps these institutions to continue providing crucially important capital to the small businesses whose growth is at the heart of our economic recovery," said Senator Cardin.

 

 

 

WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS

 

A Cardin-Grassley amendment included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act extends whistleblower protections to employees of the 10 Nationally Recognized Statistical Ratings Organizations (NRSROs). NRSROs are the companies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's that issue credit ratings at the heart of the securities and bond markets.   The NRSROs played a large role - by overestimating the safety of residential mortgage-back securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) - in creating the housing bubble and making it bigger.   Then, by making tardy but massive simultaneous downgrades of these securities, they contributed to the collapse of the subprime secondary market and the "fire sale" of assets, exacerbating the financial crisis.

 

"As we worked to pull our economy - particularly the housing market - out of a tailspin, it was obvious that the relationship between the rating agencies and major companies had become unorthodox and unhealthy. Extending whistleblower protections provides a safety net to those who may be witness to malfeasance but who fear putting their livelihood or family obligations at risk," said Senator Cardin.  

 

 

 

TRANSPARENCY IN OIL, GAS AND MINING INDUSTRIES

A Cardin-Lugar provision in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will add stability and predictability to markets and help protect investors from undue risks associated with corrupt or unstable governments in oil-rich or mineral-wealthy countries. The provision requires extractive companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose, in their SEC filings, payments made to governments for oil, gas and mining rights.

 

"This provision is a critical part of the increased transparency and corporate responsibility that we are striving to achieve in the financial industry," said Senator Cardin. "Revenue transparency increases energy security and creates U.S. jobs by reducing the operating risk U.S. companies face in inherently unstable markets. We now have the tools to help people in resource-rich countries hold their leaders accountable for the money made from their oil, gas and minerals."  

 

 

ENHANCED SUPERVISION FOR NONBANK FINANCIAL COMPANIES

A Mikulski-Cardin amendment included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ensures that mutual funds and their advisers are not inadvertently subjected to unworkable standards in the unlikely event the Financial Stability Oversight Council designates them as systemically risky.   In Section 115 of the bill, the new Council is given the flexibility to consider capital structure, riskiness, complexity, financial activities, size, and other factors when determining heightened regulatory standards.   This is important for addressing the unique characteristics of companies that are structured differently from banks and bank holding companies.  

 

 

Senator Cardin's floor statement on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act can be found here.