When discussing the proposed consumer financial protection agency, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker aren't exactly what springs to mind. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is using the first two in advertisements as part of its effort to defeat legislation creating such an agency, arguing that the bill is so broad that your local baker and butcher would be covered if he or she offered their customers any kind of line of credit with their shop.
"The economy has made it tough on this local butcher's customers. So he lets some of them run a tab and pay the bill over time to help make ends meet," the ad says. "Virtually every business that extends credit to American consumers would be affected" by the new agency.
That line is being increasingly taken by industry representatives looking to stop the bill, including the Consumer Bankers Association and the American Financial Services Association, which sent a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank on Friday arguing the draft bill was too far reaching.
While the chamber and industry representatives may have a point — the draft bill language is overly broad — they appear to be hanging their arguments on a technicality. The Treasury Department, which drafted the initial legislative language, has been adamant that the CFPA's real goal is going after lenders, nonbanks and banks alike, not local retailers.
"Our proposed agency certainly has nothing to do with butchers or bakers," wrote Andrew Williams, a Treasury spokesman, in an e-mail to American Banker on Friday. "It's about making sure consumers are being treated decently when they use credit cards, mortgages and savings accounts."
The chamber did not respond to a request for comment.
No Break for Dodd
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd just can't catch a break. Assailed by the right for what they say is his failure to prevent the housing crisis by reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now he is being attacked by the left as well.
Michael Moore, famous for taking on President George W. Bush in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," has released a new movie: "Capitalism: A Love Story."
According to a review in The Washington Post, the film slams White House economic adviser Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Dodd.
"Especially Dodd," the Post wrote. "Moore gets an on-camera interview with the mortgage officer who handled the special VIP loans provided to Dodd and other big names, an issue that has dogged Dodd's re-election bid."
Gregg Joins Panel
Sen. Judd Gregg, one of the principal Republican negotiators that helped reach the deal on the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program last year, has joined the Senate Banking Committee.
The New Hampshire lawmaker fills the seat vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida who retired last week.
"I look forward to helping guide and shape policies that will modernize our nation's financial regulatory system, address our serious housing challenges, and help ensure that employers and American consumers have robust access to credit and other financial services," Gregg said.
FDIC Panel Expands
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. named 14 bankers to its Advisory Committee on Community Banking on Friday.
The committee's members are Daniel Blanton, the president and chief executive of Southeastern Bank Financial Corp.; Charles Brown, the chairman and chief executive of Insignia Bank; Deborah Cole, the president and chief executive of Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Co.; Craig Goodlock; the chairman and chief executive of Farmers State Bank; James Gray, the chairman of Beach Business Bank; Jack E. Hopkins, the president and chief executive of CorTrust Bank N.A.; Timothy Koch, the chair of the finance department at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business; John Lewis, the president and chief executive of Southern Arizona Community Bank; Jan Miller, the president and chief executive of Wainwright Bank and Trust Co.; Rebecca Romero Rainey, the chairman and chief executive of the Bankers' Bank of Kansas; Laurie Stewart, the president and chief executive of Sound Community Bank; Ignacio Urrabazo, the president of Commerce Bank and Matthew Williams, the chairman and president of Gothenburg State Bank and Trust Co.