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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Supreme Court Refuses to Make Dodd-Frank More Draconian

    January 20, 2015

    Today, the Supreme Court lifted a cloud of uncertainty that had been hanging over consumers, community banks, and credit unions by refusing to take a case that threatened to make the stifling Dodd-Frank pseudo-financial reform legislation even more draconian than it already is.



    The Court let stand a unanimous ruling from a three-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that overturned district Judge Richard Leon’s 2013 ruling that the Federal Reserve had not made the price controls stemming from Dodd-Frank’s Durbin Amendment were not stringent enough. Today’s decision, authored by Clinton-appointed Judge David Tatel, found that the...

  • Obama Should Help Borrowers by Shedding Dodd-Frank, Not Pumping FHA

    January 8, 2015

    “If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” So said Ronald Reagan in 1986.



    Reagan was describing the unintended effects of government policy. But for the Obama administration, this formula seems to be the modus operandi of its policy making.



    Take mortgages, for instance. After the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul was rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—a bureaucracy created by the Dodd-Frank to be unaccountable almost by design—implemented the law’s “qualified mortgage” (QM) provisions.



    The QM provisions were so costly and complex that community banks and credit unions—as far...

  • Lame Duck Quacks Needed Dodd-Frank Relief

    December 12, 2014

    Waaaah! That’s the sound of former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) crying about stinging, bipartisan rebukes to his legacy of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory monstrosity rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010.



    And it must be all the more painful to Frank that enough members of his own party had turned against provisions of the legislation that a couple much-needed rollback are on the verge of being signed into law in this month’s “lame duck” session.



    According to the Boston Globe, Frank called some of these rollbacks “the road map for stealthily undoing all this in the future.” We can only hope this is the case!...

  • Liberals and Conservatives Challenge Overreach of Dodd-Frank's FSOC on MetLife

    November 18, 2014

    As CEI brings suit before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals tomorrow challenging the constitutionality of unaccountable bureaucracies created by the Dodd-Frank “financial reform” law of 2010, it looks like we may have some high-profile company in litigation against Dodd-Frank’s Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).



    The FSOC is a secretive, unaccountable task force of financial bureaucrats of various agencies created to designate banks and other financial firms “systemically important,” or too-big-to-fail. In September, the FSOC preliminarily decreed insurer MetLife a “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI.



    As CEI argues in our legal challenge to the Dodd-Frank Act (including the FSOC’s role of identifying risk), the SIFI designation confers on a firm a strong competitive advantage, as investors and...

  • Crowdfunding Is Entrepreneurship’s History and its Future

    November 18, 2014

    In America and around the world, aspiring entrepreneurs are meeting their colleagues and their mentors in official and unofficial sessions of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Created in 2007 by the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation and British organizations, Global Entrepreneurship Week, as stated on its website, “inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.”



    And this year, enabling entrepreneurship through crowdfunding will be a huge focus. To coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week’s events, the recently formed Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) is having its 2nd Annual Regulatory and Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill on Friday, November 21. For more details on the public events, go ...

  • Gruber’s “Speakola” Virus and Pelosi’s Selective Memory

    November 14, 2014

    Obamacare supporters say that when deciding King v. Burwell and the related Halbig v. Burwell, challenges to the law that the Competitive Enterprise Institute helped fund and coordinate, there is really no need for courts to narrowly confine themselves to the language of specific provisions. Instead, they should look at the broad purposes of the law, as explained by its key architects. But one problem with this approach is these architects of the law—both in Congress and outside—seem to have selective memories about the structure of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, aka Obamacare



    Until very recently, one of the key sources that Obamacare supporters have relied on to establish that purpose are statements and writings by the key architects of the law. For example, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber’s writings on Obamacare were extensively...

  • CFPBs Prepaid Debit Card Rules Will Harm Low-Income Consumers

    November 13, 2014

    Today’s action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue unprecedented burdens on providers of prepaid debit cards shows why the bureau needs to be held accountable to our elected representatives. This lack of constitutional accountability is why CEI, in partnership with the 60 Plus  Association seniors group and the tiny Texas community bank the State National Bank of Big Spring, is challenging the structure of the bureau created in the Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010 in a lawsuit to be heard before the D.C. Circuit on November 19.



    Though the CFPB says and many of the fawning headlines say the regulations are simply about consumer disclosure, the CFPB ...

  • The Economist: Interchange Fee Caps Benefit Large Retailers at Consumer Expense

    October 9, 2014

    Surprise! Price controls lead to unintended consequences—including transfers of wealth to parties who lobbied for those controls.



    That’s the actual – and unsurprising – result of the an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) that caps fees charged by banks for payment cards, mainly debit and credit cards. As The Economist reports:



    [T]he limits on “interchange fees”, as the financial jargon has it, have not worked out as planned. They have resulted, by one calculation, in the transfer of between $1 billion and $3 billion annually from poor households to big retailers and their shareholders. These were not the beneficiaries Mr...

  • See Me at San Francisco Crowdfund Banking and Lending Summit

    October 8, 2014

    My colleague Wayne Crews’ Forbes column Monday explained “How Entrepreneurs Can Speak Out About the Cost of Regulation,” but noted sadly that “businesses that never form in the first place because of regulation never get a chance to talk.”



    But there may be at least one exception. Next week in San Francisco, a conference will bring together entrepreneurs and investors to discuss, in part, businesses that can’t form because of the thicket of red tape.



    Coastal Shows, producer of the annual Crowdfund Global Expo (CFGE), will host the CFGE Crowdfund Banking and Lending Summit at San Francisco’s Grand Hyatt on October 16 and 17. A bevy of ...

  • For Fannie and Freddie Reform, Transparency Is a Must

    September 22, 2014

    Six years after the onset of the financial crisis, another Congress has adjourned without doing anything to rein in the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) that many experts have identified as the leading cause of the mortgage meltdown. But there is some good news. It appears that a phony “reform” that would actually make things worse has died a merciful death.



    As I have written in National Review and elsewhere, the so-called Johnson-Crapo reform introduced by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee is “Fannie and Freddie on Steroids.” As I noted, “Not only would the government’s role...

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