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Obama Admin Tests Waters for Regulatory Overhaul

 Both theWall Street Journal and the Washington Post have a rundown this morning on aspects of the administration's likely overhaul of the financial regulatory system. The descriptions come from anonymous sources, and seem to be a testing of the waters.

There would be some big changes. No longer would there be a quartet of regulatory agencies, an arrangement that has allowed banks to sometimes game the system by choosing the one with the lightest regulatory touch. There would be only one to directly oversee banks -- a completely new agency. Two of the four existing agencies would disappear. The FDIC and the Federal Reserve would cease to regulate banks as they do now, but they would gain other powers. The FDIC would be able to put any institution, no matter how big, into receivership. The Fed would be charged with watching and controlling risk across the system. There would also be a new agency with the primary mission of protecting consumers.

The changes are likely to draw opposition from a number of corners (e.g., lawmakers whose committees oversee certain aspects of the current system, the banks, etc.), the Post points out, so any system overhaul won't be happening overnight.

There are definite flaws in the existing system. For instance, ProPublica has reported on how AIG's regulator wasn't up to the job and how IndyMac's failure exposed weak oversight by regulators.

Other links from this morning:
Plan to Buy Banks' Bad Loans Founders (WSJ)
Under Plan, U.S. Would Name at Least 5 of GM's 13 Board Members (WaPo)
Citi, SEC Are in Talks to Settle Asset Probe (WSJ)
Auto Adviser to Obama Had Ties to Industry Fund (NYT)

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