WASHINGTON — Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin said Monday that the administration has made significant strides in enforcing the regulatory reform law, citing progress in setting up a consumer protection bureau and a data collection agency.
Wolin also touted the formation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is to hold its second meeting Nov. 23 to discuss which nonbanks should be considered systemically important. Wolin said the council will also continue to work on its operations, budget, staffing and organizational structure.
"The work is far from done," he said in a speech at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. "Enacting this law was just the beginning. We have now begun the difficult and complex process of implementation."
Wolin said the creation of the Office of Financial Research could prove invaluable to regulators. Its job is to assist the council in data collection and analysis by working with regulators to standardize financial reporting and reference data.
In the next few weeks, Wolin said, the OFR will draft a set of standards for reporting financial data and a way to standardize that data.
The agency is also beginning to put into place a way to develop and publish key reference data that would describe financial institutions and contracts. In the next few months, it also is to publish confidentiality procedures for the collection and treatment of financial data.
Bankers have raised fears that the new agency would impose a new reporting burden, but Wolin sought to allay such concerns.
"The OFR must not duplicate existing government data collection efforts or impose unnecessary burdens," he said. "That is why we are working with the regulators to catalogue carefully the data they already collect to ensure the OFR relies on their data whenever possible.
"The OFR is also exploring ways that it could act as a central warehouse of data for the regulatory community, which could generate efficiencies and interagency cooperation."
Wolin also discussed progress in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the most visible new agency mandated by the Dodd-Frank law.
Though the banking agencies retain rulewriting power over existing consumer protection statutes until July 21, 2011, Wolin said the CFPB is already coordinating with the Federal Reserve Board as it writes disclosure rules.
"We have begun planning and preparations for certain rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act so the CFPB can meet statutory deadlines," Wolin said. "We are working with the agencies that will transfer rulemaking authority to coordinate and ensure a smooth transfer.
"For instance, we are coordinating fulfillment of certain rule-writing mandates under the Dodd-Frank Act with the Federal Reserve Board to speed clarity for the market and meet statutory deadlines."
So far, it has been unclear just how much rule-writing authority the CFPB has before the official transfer date.
Wolin added that the Treasury Department has assigned several experts in consumer compliance supervision to the CFPB so that it can develop a supervision schedule and learn to coordinate exams with prudential regulators. Under the law, the CFPB is to enforce consumer standards on all banks with more than $10 billion of assets.