Now It’s the Law

President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act at the Ronald Reagan Building today. The clock starts ticking on the compliance and rule-making deadlines.

“The fact is, the financial industry is central to our nation’s ability to grow, prosper, compete, and innovate. There are a lot of banks that understand and fulfill this vital role, and a lot of bankers who want to do right by their customers. Well, this reform will help foster innovation, not hamper it. It is designed to make sure that everyone follows the same set of rules, so that firms compete on price and quality, not tricks and traps. It demands accountability and responsibility from everyone. It provides certainty to everybody from bankers to farmers to business owners. And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear from this reform.” – excerpt from the president’s speech

The President was joined on the stage by two non-politicians:

Andrew Giordano is a retired Vietnam veteran from Locust Point, Maryland who the President met last year when he participated in a roundtable to discuss the outdated rules regulating the financial sector. Mr. Giordano was saddled with hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees on his veteran’s account because his bank had automatically enrolled him in “overdraft” protection that he never asked for. The new Consumer Protection Bureau will enforce new rules on overdraft programs to make sure that consumers like Mr. Giordano get a real choice and are not unknowingly charged unnecessary fees.

Robin Fox is a 7th grade science teacher from Rome, Georgia who sent an letter to the President in early August because her credit card company retroactively increased the rate on her existing credit card balance from 10.90% to 17.90%, even though she paid her account on time. The increase has been a burden on her family at an already difficult time, after her husband’s landscaping business dried up due to the financial crisis. The new Consumer Protection Bureau will enforce the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which bans arbitrary rate hikes on existing balances and other unfair practices by credit card companies.

The politicians on the stage:

  • Vice President Biden
  • Secretary Timothy Geithner
  • Chairman Chris Dodd, D-CT
  • Chairman Barney Frank, D-MA
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA
  • Senator Harry Reid, D-NV
  • Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-AR
  • Representative Collin Peterson, D-MN
  • Representative Steny Hoyer, D-MD
  • Representative Paul Kanjorski, D-PA
  • Representative Maxine Waters, D-CA
  • Representative Mel Watt, D-NC
  • Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-IL
  • Representative Gregory Meeks, D-NY
  • Representative Dennis Moore, D-KS
  • Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD
  • Senator Jack Reed, D-RI

I assume everyone got pens.