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Top financial group resigned to reform

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Hours after exhausted House and Senate conferees approved a sweeping financial regulatory reform package at daybreak Friday, one influential industry group announced it was prepared to learn to live with the results.

While admitting to "some concerns," Financial Services Roundtable chief Steve Bartlett said that "the industry is committed to making this bill work."

"There is a lot to like in this legislation, but ultimately, we have some concerns about the impact to consumers, industry and economy. We are very pleased to have this certainty and closure about how we can continue to move our economy forward," he said.

The Roundtable includes 100 of the nation's biggest and most influential financial services companies, including Bank of America, Citigroup and General Electric.

Arriving in Canada for the G-8 summit Friday morning, President Obama hailed the final package, predicting it will be quickly passed by the House and Senate. Democrats are pushing to have the bill on Mr. Obama's desk for signing by the Fourth of July break.

The final compromise measure was tougher on the industry than many had predicted, with new restrictions on the activities of commercial banks, the creation of a powerful new financial consumer protection agency within the Federal Reserve, tougher oversight of credit rating agencies, new caps on bank fees and debit-card charges and the first serious federal effort to regulate the $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

Heather Booth, director of the activist group Americans for Financial Reform, said the overhaul bill would have "been unthinkable three years ago" before the global financial crisis hit.

"This is a big step forward, and a first step towards the further changes we need to make sure Wall Street serves Main Street and not vice versa," she said.

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About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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