Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act is such an ordeal for regulators, at least one turned to pop music for solace.
In a speech at the annual Energy and Commodities Conference in Houston, Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Scott O'Malia said a Katy Perry song captures his feelings about regulatory reform.
"Although it didn't happen overnight, some days it feels like 'Waking Up in Vegas,' " O'Malia said. "I know I am not alone in feeling that we are all a little out of our element. The lights are on and our vision is slightly blurred. Even though Dodd-Frank, in many instances, requires that we react to what we cannot yet fully comprehend, as the Katy Perry song goes, 'it is time to put our money where our mouths are' as we face the challenge before us: create the regulatory structure envisioned by Congress — in just one year."
But if Perry isn't cathartic enough, O'Malia also found comfort in a rapper's lyrics.
"We need all the input from market participants we can get," he said. "As Eminem would remind us, this is 'the moment, you own it.' "
Read the Riot Act
Not surprisingly, the industry isn't finding much sympathy in the media over the robo-signing affair.
Exhibit A is "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, which poked fun at banks for not reading the fine print.
"What? The banks weren't reading the fine print!? The banks!? You're the people who came up with the fine print in the first place!" Stewart said on the Oct. 7 show. "We never read the fine print. We don't read the fine print on anything? Have you ever seen the length of an iTunes contract? Do you think I'm going to wade through 52 pages of crap to get to my Katy Perry songs?"
With revelations that banks had overlooked key details, including whether foreclosed borrowers were actually in default, Stewart added, "You're not even reading the regular print.
"I would imagine that not knowing which houses are actually in default could lead to some pretty wacky mishaps," he said.
Later, the show laid it on thicker, criticizing the Mortgage Bankers Association for decrying strategic defaults, even though the trade group has had its own real estate troubles.
Faux news reporter Wyatt Cenac, out to learn more about the strategic-default issue, tried to speak with someone at the MBA, only to learn the association had vacated the Washington office building it had purchased before the crash and was now renting space elsewhere.
The MBA was hurt by the downturn and lost personnel. It was reported the group had put the $90 million building up for sale, and earlier this year sold it for less than half.
The comedy show characterized the group as criticizing a practice that the MBA itself had experienced.
"It turns out, like many people, the Mortgage Bankers Association decided it's a better time to rent, and found a new place just five blocks up the street from their old" headquarters," Cenac said.
Cenac unsuccessfully tried questioning the association, first at its new building and then at a Dallas conference, where he was led away by security. "So they weren't particularly talkative," he said.
A spokesman for MBA said the show was "based on the false premise that MBA defaulated on its building."
"The simple fact is that we did not," the spokesman said. "In fact, we did exactly what we ask distressed homeowners to do: we worked with our lenders on a deal to sell the building, and agreement that best served all parties involved. "
One to Watch
Rep. Patrick McHenry, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, last week made Time's "40 Under 40" list, which recognized "a new generation of civic leaders trying to fix a broken system — and restore faith in the political process."
The magazine cited the North Carolina Republican's efforts to "restore fiscal sanity."
In his profile, McHenry said the most overlooked issue facing America is that "[w]e absolutely need to reform the congressional budget-writing process."
"It's an honor to be included on a list that includes soon-to-be Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal and colleagues like Devin Nunes," McHenry said. "I look forward to working with many of these young leaders to get our country back on the right track."
Leaving the OCC
Doug Roeder, who has been in charge of large-bank supervision for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, will officially retire at the end of the year after 33 years at the agency.
"Doug has led our large-bank program during a time of tremendous industry consolidation and growth in our large-bank portfolio, now comprising more than $7 trillion in assets," Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh wrote in an e-mail to staffers on Oct. 7. "His quiet and effective leadership ensured that our large-bank program kept pace with these developments during the boom years and helped navigate through the more recent turbulent times."
While at the OCC, Roeder was deputy comptroller for large-bank supervision and as examiner-in-charge at both Fleet Financial Group in Boston and the former Shawmut National Corp. in Hartford. Roeder began his career at the OCC as a financial intern in Lexington, Ky., in 1977.
Mike Brosnan will succeed Roeder as the senior deputy comptroller for large-bank supervision. Brosnan returned to the OCC in 2008 as the deputy comptroller of the division after spending four years as a senior executive with the MBNA and then Bank of America Corp. He previously spent 21 years at the OCC.
Freddie's New Pick
Clayton Rose, a Harvard professor and financial services veteran, last week was elected as a director on Freddie Mac's board.
Before becoming a faculty member at Harvard Business School in July 2007, Rose spent more than two decades at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and has sat on various boards.
In 2001, Rose was vice chairman and chief operating officer of Chase's investment bank. He worked at J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. from 1981 to 2000 in posts such as head of the global investment banking and global equities divisions. He also was a member of the company's executive committee.
He is on the board of directors of XL Group PLC and is a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
Reinhart to IIE
The Peterson Institute for International Economics named Dr. Carmen Reinhart the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow.
Reinhart will succeed Dr. Morris Goldstein, who has held the position since 1995 and is retiring.
The chair was created in 1995 by friend of Dennis Weatherstone, the former chairman and CEO of JP Morgan & Co. from 1980 to 1987. Since 1996, Reinhart has been a professor of economics and director of the Center for International Economics at the University of Maryland.