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Banking regulations might just survive the GOP


first_imgJudging by the bill moving through the Senate with bipartisan support, it is to grant regulatory relief to small banks while letting some big ones, but not the biggest, go along for the ride.Specifically, banks with less than $10 billion in assets would be exempt from the Volcker rule, a ban on trading risky securities; and the level of assets at which banks are considered systemically risky and subject to stricter capital requirements and other crisis-prevention rules would grow from $50 billion to $250 billion.The effect of the latter change would be to relax crisis-prevention controls on 26 of the 38 biggest banks in the United States, though the Federal Reserve could adjust that in certain cases.The bill will certainly please much of the financial sector, especially politically influential community banks; but this is not the same as saying it is wise.The failure of one or more $200 billon banks could pose systemic risks. Nor is it necessary.Community banks — 92 percent of federally insured institutions — are generally doing fine, according to the latest Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. statistics, which show that lending grew among these institutions during 2017, and that fourth-quarter net income would have increased 17 percent from a year ago but for one-time income tax charges.Indeed, bank stability and profitability had both recovered in recent years under Dodd-Frank, as has the economy as a whole, thus calling into question the bank lobby’s claim that deregulation is vital to restored growth. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post:“We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank,” President Donald Trump promised in the early days of his administration, implying imminent achievement of the long-standing Republican goal of repealing, or gutting, the signature financial reform law of President Barack Obama’s tenure.What Trump neglected to mention, of course, is that the only relevant number, big or small, was 60. That’s how many senators it would take to pass new legislation. Republicans could change Dodd-Frank only to the extent consistent with attracting sufficient Democratic votes. Now we’re finding out what the lowest common denominator may be. A case could be made that further toughening of capital requirements for the largest banks is in order and that Democrats should have insisted on it as the price of regulatory relief for small ones.Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari advocates a 38 percent equity capital minimum — which could force the giants to break up.You don’t have to agree with Kashkari to worry nevertheless that the Senate bill sets a precedent for the biggest institutions to demand lower capital requirements the next time Congress takes up the issue.For now, that doesn’t seem politically possible; the Senate bill could represent the high-water mark of this Republican deregulatory wave.The House financial deregulation bill, which really would gut Dodd-Frank, has no chance of attracting enough Democratic support to pass the Senate.Though weakened, the basic Dodd-Frank regulatory framework might just survive two years of Republican control of the presidency and Congress, which certainly beats the alternative.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more


Britton’s got talent


first_imgFionnuala Britton won Ireland’s second bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg. A day after Ciaran O’Lionaird finished third in the men’s 3,000 metres, Britton repeated the feat in a thrilling finish to the women’s race, which had also bizarrely featured a false start. Portugal’s Sara Moreira was a comfortable winner in eight minutes 58.50 seconds, but just 0.09secs covered second to fourth with Germany’s Corinna Harrer taking silver in 9mins 00.50s, Britton third in 9:00.54 and Russia’s Yelena Korobkina fourth in 9:00.59. “I needed to stay out of trouble and conserve energy. I knew I couldn’t dictate the race, I had to follow it,” said Britton, twice a winner of the European Cross Country title. “When we sprinted for it I could have got second so I am a bit disappointed, but I could also have got fourth. I have come in fourth place so many times I was thinking ‘I’m not coming fourth, I’m not coming fourth’.” Britton avoided being caught up in the false start, which saw Britain’s Lauren Howarth also tumble to the track on the first bend and the field complete three-quarters of a hesitant first lap before being halted by officials. Howarth, who went on to finish sixth despite a nasty gash on her right thigh, said: “It was a bit of a distraction, but you’ve got to laugh at it really, move on and get on with the race. “I’m a bit gutted because I could have easily got a medal but it’s a championship race. I fell over at my last race at the European Cross Country and went flat on my face, so I seem to like falling over.” In the women’s 800m final, Ciara Everard was sixth in a race won by Ukraine’s Nataliya Lupu. Sprinter Amy Foster failed to make it through to the 60m final, finishing seventh in her semi-final in 7.37. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more


Man accused of standoff during domestic disturbance in Mason City charged


first_imgMASON CITY — Charges have been filed against a Mason City man involved in a three-hour standoff with authorities as part of a domestic disturbance last week.Mason City police were called shortly after 6 o’clock last Thursday night to the City Center building at 5 North Federal, where on arrival they were met by a female victim. 44-year-old Mark Torres remained in an apartment and refused to exit, allegedly telling police had a firearm and threatened to use it. After about three hours, officers were able to negotiate a peaceful surrender and took Torres into custody.Torres has been charged with domestic abuse assault with the intent to inflict serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and a $6250 fine. Torres is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on $2000 bond.He’s due in court for his preliminary hearing on April 26th.last_img read more