Bid To Vote Bank Bill Fails, Marathon Debate Continues

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WASHINGTON – Senate leaders failed to obtain enough support to force a final vote on the controversial bank bill yesterday, meaning the three-week debate will continue.

The motion for cloture proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid received only 57 votes, meaning the Senate will continue to slog through as many as 50 more amendments to the massive bill. One credit union lobbyist suggested last night the extended debate could be bad for credit unions because of the potential for additional mischief.

Still left for the Senate to address are whether to exclude auto dealers from the oversight of a consumer financial protection bureau. Other amendments being considered would ban commercial banks from trading in speculative investments and impose state interest rate caps on credit card issuers.

The bill, which began as a 1,400-page document covering too-big-to-fail financial institutions, a consumer financial protection agency and regulation of financial derivatives, has grown even broader since the debate began three weeks ago.

Among the additions are a provision that will result in lower interchange fees for credit unions and banks on debit card transactions; open the Federal Reserve to financial audits; give consumers free access to their credit scores (not just credit reports as under current law) and require credit unions and banks to retain 5% – so-called “skin in the game” – of loans they sell on the secondary market.

Still to be debated are controversial proposals to ban proprietary trading for investment banks and to re-impose Depression-era Glass-Steagall rules that would bar traditional banks from affiliating with investment firms.

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