WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday had a message for those hoping to water down last year's financial regulatory overhaul — it's not going to happen.
Efforts by members of Congress to block appointments to key oversight positions, put forth legislation to repeal the entire law or critical pieces of it, or use cost-benefit analysis as a roadblock with the aim of weakening Dodd-Frank Act are doomed to fail, he said.
"We are going to fight to preserve them," said Geithner speaking before a conference hosted by the Financial Oversight Stability Council. He said the financial reforms being implemented by regulators are "sensible and essential."
"If the opponents of reform are successful, then we will be left with a broken, poorly designed system of financial oversight and protection, with inadequate resources to prevent and deter future abuse," said Geithner, chairman of the FSOC.
The Obama administration and Congress, he said, moved early in 2009 to begin the process of taking on financial reform, rather than delaying until all the all damage had been repaired.
"We chose to move early, so that the scars of the crisis would motivate reform," said Geithner. "By moving early, before the memory of the crisis faded, we believed we could maximize the prospects of more substantial and more enduring reforms."
Any effort to undermine those efforts will only make the system more vulnerable, he said. Consumers would potentially face future abuses, while businesses would be vulnerable to limited credit availability.
Geithner, along with academics, former regulators, and industry participants met Thursday for the start of a two-day conference to advise Treasury on what the FSOC's Office of Financial Research — it's data and research arm — should be to help prevent a future crisis.