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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Federal Charters May Remove Interest Rate Uncertainty for Fintech Firms

    August 3, 2018

    The July 31 policy statement by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announcing that it will now grant “special purpose national bank charters” to non-depository financial services firms is likely a game-changer for fintech in the U.S. This is because case law stemming from the Supreme Court’s decision in Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp has established that any firm deemed a “national bank” by the OCC is exempt from interest rate caps outside of the state where it is domiciled.


  • In U.S. and Australia, Payment Card Price Controls Create Many Unhappy Returns

    July 23, 2018

    Eight years ago this month, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the so-called Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Every year since then, my CEI colleagues and I have reflected on how so many folks who had nothing to do with the financial crisis—including Main Street consumers, entrepreneurs, community banks, credit unions and other financial institutions far away from Wall Street—have been harmed by the Dodd-Frank monstrosity.


  • Trump Reorg Plan One Step Forward, Two Steps Back on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

    June 27, 2018

    My colleagues Trey Kovacs and Iain Murray and, in Forbes, Wayne Crews, give mixed reviews to President Trump’s long-awaited executive branch reorganization plan released late last week. Murray stated that the plan’s “focus on creating a better experience for the citizen who consumes government services rather than the bureaucrat that is supposed to provide them is a step in the right direction. However, it is disappointing that the opportunity was not taken to propose a wholesale reduction in the size of...

  • Last Chance for the 115th: Unshackle Middle-Class Investors and Entrepreneurs

    June 18, 2018

    Congress and President Trump recently gave Main Street banks and credit unions some much-need but still modest relief from the mountains of red tape stemming from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yet, as I have pointed out, some of the most onerous and nonsensical provisions were left untouched.


  • Cut Red Tape So Middle-Class Investors Can Soar with Next Amazon

    May 15, 2018

    Today is the 21st anniversary of the initial public offering of a little company called Amazon. Yes, today Amazon is a behemoth, a supposed unbreakable monopoly, but back in 2000 it faced an uncertain future as an online startup going head-to-head with the “big boys” of Borders and Barnes & Noble.


  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Targets True Rights Violations with Wells Fargo Fine

    April 25, 2018

    After being attacked repeatedly for supposedly being soft on Wall Street and the “big banks,” Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney was part of the Trump administration team that on Friday hit Wells Fargo with a fine of $1 billion. The CFPB levied this fine jointly the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.


  • Implement AEI-Heritage-R Street GSE Plan AND Honor Shareholder Contracts

    March 1, 2018

    It is welcome news that our friends from the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the R Street Institute put forth a plan this week for the Trump administration to take steps to downsize the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Noting the deadlock in Congress over GSE reform—even among Republicans—the plan looked exclusively at options that don’t require congressional authorization.


  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton's Comments on Cryptocurrencies Are Cause for Concern

    February 9, 2018

    Recent comments by SEC Chairman Jay Claytonmay signal an increasingly heavy-handed regulatory approach toward cryptocurrencies. Such an approach could curb innovation and prove counterproductive in fighting fraud. Instead, cryptocurrency rules should give consumers recourse against bad actors while preserving the important principle of “permissionless innovation.”  


  • Trump Should Boost Bipartisan Access-to-Capital Bill in SOTU

    January 29, 2018

    If President Trump really wants to strike a note of bipartisanship in his State of the Union address, as well as promote measures to build on the U.S. economy’s growth spurt, he should lend his explicit support to the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act.


  • End CFPB's Collection of Americans' Financial Data

    December 6, 2017

    Last week, when the drama of the dueling directors began at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), I told The Washington Examiner that the new director should “rein in or kill” the CFPB’s “NSA-like” database holding sensitive information from millions of consumers’ credit cards and mortgages. I am pleased that this week Acting Director Mick Mulvaney announced that no more consumer data will be collected until a thorough review is conducted of the security of this data.



    Mulvaney was appointed by President Trump last week under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to temporarily replace outgoing CFPB director Richard Cordray. But on the day of his departure, Cordray promoted his chief of staff, Leandra English, to deputy director. As...

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