- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The White House said Tuesday night that President Trump will sign into law a sweeping overhaul of bank regulations “as soon as possible” to help boost the economy by spurring more lending from community banks to small businesses.

“This is a really important win,” said a senior administration official. “This is another milestone in our efforts to revitalize the American economy.”

The president hopes to sign the measure into law before Memorial Day, administration officials said.

The House voted 258 to 159 to approve the legislation Tuesday, giving the president a chance to make good on his campaign pledge to “do a big number” on the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 that cracked down on the banking industry.

House leaders voted on the compromise bill, which had support from moderate Senate Democrats, in exchange for a promise to vote later this year on a broader set of House-passed regulatory rollbacks. Senate Democrats have said they will oppose further changes.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, Idaho Republican and sponsor of the measure that Mr. Trump will sign into law, said the moment was “years in the making.”

“This step toward right-sizing regulation will allow local banks and credit unions to focus more on lending, in turn propelling economic growth and creating jobs,” Mr. Crapo said in a statement.

White House advisers said the legislation enhances Mr. Trump’s agenda of rolling back Obama-era regulations that had choked growth. A senior administration official called it “another important step in lifting regulation and barriers to opportunity,” asserting that Dodd-Frank has caused a “steep decline” in lending to small businesses.

While stopping short of saying the measure fulfills Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal Dodd-Frank, one administration official said the bill is “a step toward that promise.”

FreedomWorks President and CEO Adam Brandon said the legislation “dovetails” with Mr. Trump’s push to cut regulations.

“The passage of Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act is a move in the right direction to dial back federal overreach,” Mr. Brandon said. “Smaller community banks finally have the targeted relief they have needed since the passage of Dodd-Frank.”

Liberal Democrats blasted the legislation, saying it will roll back important protections for consumers that are designed to prevent another banking industry collapse.

“The bill would raise the asset threshold at which banks would be subject to enhanced supervision by regulators, weaken stress tests and capital requirements for big banks, undermine critical mortgage protections, and exempt 85 percent of depository institutions from reporting important Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data,” said Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, before the vote. “I’m all for helping community banks and credit unions but this bill goes way beyond that and includes massive giveaways to Wall Street.”

The legislation gives smaller banks relief from rules that they have asserted are burdensome and costly. The bill raises the threshold for banks to face tougher Federal Reserve oversight from $50 billion to $250 billion in assets.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, have agreed to consider additional banking deregulation proposals later this year.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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