POLITICS
08/19/2013 02:42 pm ET | Updated Oct 19, 2013

Obama Feels 'Urgency' Over Completing Dodd-Frank Rules: White House

AP

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to communicate a "sense of urgency" about finishing new rules for Wall Street when he meets with top U.S. financial regulators on Monday, a White House spokesman said.

September will mark the fifth anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank whose failure roiled markets and is often viewed as a peak in the financial crisis.

Obama will meet with top officials from the agencies charged with overhauling financial regulation and preventing another meltdown, including the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president appreciates the progress regulators have made in revamping their oversight of financial firms, and will urge them to finish writing the requirements called for by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

"We're certainly pleased with the level of cooperation and coordination that's taken place among these independent regulators," Earnest told reporters on Monday.

"The president wants to encourage them to capitalize on the momentum they've already built up to put this regulatory regime in place."

The Dodd-Frank law, which Congress passed in response to the meltdown, called for hundreds of new rules, including new oversight of the massive swaps market, mortgages and consumer financial products, and large nonbank financial firms.

Regulators have rushed to write the rules but have missed deadlines on many of the most controversial requirements. The rules are about 40 percent complete.

For example, the so-called Volcker rule to forbid banks from making risky trades with their own money is more than a year behind schedule, as five different agencies struggle to agree on a single rule.

Earnest said he did not have any announcements to make about progress on new rules, and he said it was important that regulators remain independent from politics and from Wall Street firms seeking to water down the new requirements.

He pointed to the consumer bureau and its director, Richard Cordray, as a way the Dodd-Frank law already has led to greater protections for middle-class families.

Dodd-Frank created the bureau to oversee mortgages, credit cards and other consumer products. After years of disagreements in Congress over the structure of the bureau, Cordray was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July.

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