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Inside Washington (08/30/2009)
* WASHINGTON (8/31/09)--One part of the Obama administration’s regulatory reform plan--the elimination of national bank preemption--has gone largely unnoticed by lawmakers. But many financial institutions say the elimination would have a significant impact. The provision would allow states to act independently and separately, “balkanizing” the industry, according to Howard Cayne, Arnold & Porter partner. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan has rallied against preemption, but it’s not clear if his congressional counterparts agree (American Banker Aug. 21). However, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) wants the provision to stay, arguing that the Comptroller of the Currency overstepped its bounds in 2004 when it adopted rules codifying its preemption authority. Community banks have fought against the proposed consumer protection agency because it could set rules so strict states won’t go beyond them, while larger banks have opposed the preemption. The Senate may be the best place for the banking industry to fight the provision. Mark Calabria, former Republican committee aide and Cato Institute director of financial regulations, suggested Democrats could make a trade-off with the industry by allowing the preemption and detailing stronger consumer protection rules ...


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