Banks push to be excluded from Dodd-Frank Act

A bank coalition says regional banks didn't cause the systemic financial crisis of 2008 and that they shouldn't be regulated like the large Wall Street banks that did.

Since Republicans gained control over Congress last year, mortgage professionals have been vying for a change to one of the industry’s biggest regulations—the Dodd-Frank Act.

Now, a coalition of 10 banks have come together to make the pitch that they should not be held to all regulatory restrictions in Dodd-Frank.

 “Regional banks welcome appropriate government regulation, based on risk and business model, to assure our safety and soundness,” William Moore, executive director of the coalition of banks, said.

The 10 banks, including BB&T and SunTrust Banks Inc., are among 31 bank holding companies required by the Federal Reserve to do stress-test assessments twice annually. The stress tests are used to gauge potential impact of a severe economic downturn as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Another Dodd-Frank requirement is the writing of “living wills,” which state banks’ plans for dismantling themselves in times of financial duress.

The bank coalition argues that Dodd-Frank treats all banks with assets in excess of $50 billion the same and according to Tony Plath, a finance professor at UNC Charlotte, there is “a world of difference between the operation, business model and level of risk present.”

Moore echoed Plath sentiments, adding that although regional banks are large; their business models closely resemble that of smaller community banks.

"Regional banks didn't cause the systemic financial crisis of 2008, and they don't carry the kind of risk associated with large Wall Street banks," Moore said. "They don't look like the big money center banks, they don't act like them, and they shouldn't be regulated like them."

Plath told the Winston-Salem Journal  he believes the banks will gain traction with regulators and legislators as long as the Republicans maintain leadership.

In a recent survey by the Collingwood Group, respondents in the mortgage industry said reigning in Dodd-Frank would be the most important thing the new Congress could do to improve the housing market.

Fewer than 50% of respondents selected “Repeal Dodd-Frank” or “Abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the results that were submitted indicate that industry professionals favor a tempered approach with reasonable modifications to these two reactionary reform measures stemming from the crisis, according to the Collingwood Group.

Many industry professionals felt Dodd-Frank should be revised to remove barriers to innovation and to reduce the cost of building a mortgage.

Back in December, Congress attempted to roll back Dodd-Frank but faced stiff opposition from Senator Elizabeth Warren and her supporters.