Last year begain with promise for advocates of fundamental reform of the nation's banking laws. The Treasury Department unveiled a proposal that would have shattered the Glass-Steagall Act, the law separating investment and commercial banking.

Shepherded in large part by Rep. Doug Barnard, D-Ga., the measure made it through the House Banking Committee with most of its reform provisions left intact. But the bill lost steam in Congress and died. Congress passed a narrower bill containing regulatory reforms, but lacking any new powers for financial firms.

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