The House will vote in coming days on a wide ranging GOP plan to repeal and change a series of financial reforms approved by Congress in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street collapse, as Republicans argue the changes will remove excessive regulations and allow new financial growth in the United States.
The reforms include major financial changes, like ending the Volcker Rule, which placed limits on investments that financial institutions can make; the plan would also end any taxpayer bailouts of banks and other financial companies which have been deemed ‘too big to fail.’
Critics of the plan say it is mainly an effort to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approved by President Obama, and limit its ability to rein in anti-consumer financial practices.
No matter where you stand, the GOP bill – dubbed the “Financial Choice Act” – is one of the more complicated pieces of legislation to come before the Congress in recent years:
+ The bill itself weighs in at 580 pages.
+ The section by section summary of the bill is 28 pages.
Knowing full well that most of my readers – and pretty much every member of Congress – won’t read this bill in its entirety, here are some highlights that might not make the headlines:
1. Requires Congress to vote on major financial rules. The bill says if a rule from a federal financial agency has more than a $100 million economic impact, then Congress can vote to block that plan. It also allows rejection of ‘non-major rules.’
2. Congress to Judges: Drop Dead. In several provisions of the bill, the plan tells the courts to butt out, specifically saying that certain items are not subject to judicial review. §335 specifically says: “Provides that determinations, findings, actions, or omissions under Subtitle B are not subject to judicial review.”
3. Ends federal authority over “small-dollar loans.” §733 is pretty straightforward – saying the feds “may not exercise any rulemaking, enforcement, or other authority with respect to payday loans, vehicle title loans, or other similar loans.”
4. Makes leaks from financial agencies a crime. Section 392 states that if you work for any federal financial agency, and you disclose any information about bank “stress tests,” then you can be fined up to $5,000.
5. No more federal limits on debt card charges. The Dodd-Frank law has a provision in it that allows the Federal Reserve to set the price on how much a consumer can be charged for using a debit card. Republicans say it’s time for repeal.
6. Audit the Fed. §1010 requires something that some GOP lawmakers have been pressing for in recent years – a yearly audit and transparency for the Federal Reserve. This provision would have the GAO audit the Fed every year.
7. Are they just ‘technical corrections?’ My father taught me many years ago that lobbyists could use “technical corrections” to past tax legislation to make major changes in law, without many people knowing about it. There are a host of such changes in this bill. Most of them look like they are fixing honest typos and clerical errors in the original Dodd-Frank bill. But you never know.
Since I know that very few people reading this right now will take the time to read the summary, the bill and the report – I will print the table of contents of the bill.
Just scrolling through this will give you a pretty good feel as to the scope of the GOP plan. Remember – reading the bill isn’t enough.
TITLE I—ENDING “TOO BIG TO FAIL” AND BANK BAILOUTS<br>
Subtitle A—Repeal Of The Orderly Liquidation Authority
Sec. 111. Repeal of the orderly liquidation authority.
Subtitle B—Financial Institution Bankruptcy
Sec. 121. General provisions relating to covered financial corporations.
Sec. 122. Liquidation, reorganization, or recapitalization of a covered financial corporation.
Sec. 123. Amendments to title 28, United States Code.
Subtitle C—Ending Government Guarantees
Sec. 131. Repeal of obligation guarantee program.
Sec. 132. Repeal of systemic risk determination in resolutions.
Sec. 133. Restrictions on use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.
Subtitle D—Eliminating Financial Market Utility Designations
Sec. 141. Repeal of title VIII.
Subtitle E—Reform Of The Financial Stability Act Of 2010
Sec. 151. Repeal and modification of provisions of the Financial Stability Act of 2010.
Sec. 152. Operational risk capital requirements for banking organizations.
TITLE II—DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FROM WALL STREET
Subtitle A—SEC Penalties Modernization
Sec. 211. Enhancement of civil penalties for securities laws violations.
Sec. 212. Updated civil money penalties of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
Sec. 213. Updated civil money penalty for controlling persons in connection with insider trading.
Sec. 214. Update of certain other penalties.
Sec. 215. Monetary sanctions to be used for the relief of victims.
Sec. 216. GAO report on use of civil money penalty authority by Commission.
Subtitle B—FIRREA Penalties Modernization
Sec. 221. Increase of civil and criminal penalties originally established in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989.
TITLE III—DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FROM FINANCIAL REGULATORS AND DEVOLVING POWER AWAY FROM WASHINGTON
Subtitle A—Cost-Benefit Analyses
Sec. 311. Definitions.
Sec. 312. Required regulatory analysis.
Sec. 313. Rule of construction.
Sec. 314. Public availability of data and regulatory analysis.
Sec. 315. Five-year regulatory impact analysis.
Sec. 316. Retrospective review of existing rules.
Sec. 317. Judicial review.
Sec. 318. Chief Economists Council.
Sec. 319. Conforming amendments.
Sec. 320. Other regulatory entities.
Sec. 321. Avoidance of duplicative or unnecessary analyses.
Subtitle B—Congressional Review Of Federal Financial Agency Rulemaking
Sec. 331. Congressional review.
Sec. 332. Congressional approval procedure for major rules.
Sec. 333. Congressional disapproval procedure for nonmajor rules.
Sec. 334. Definitions.
Sec. 335. Judicial review.
Sec. 336. Effective date of certain rules.
Sec. 337. Budgetary effects of rules subject to section 332 of the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017.
Subtitle C—Judicial Review Of Agency Actions
Sec. 341. Scope of judicial review of agency actions.
Subtitle D—Leadership Of Financial Regulators
Sec. 351. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Sec. 352. Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Subtitle E—Congressional Oversight Of Appropriations
Sec. 361. Bringing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation into the appropriations process.
Sec. 362. Bringing the Federal Housing Finance Agency into the appropriations process.
Sec. 363. Bringing the National Credit Union Administration into the appropriations process.
Sec. 364. Bringing the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency into the appropriations process.
Sec. 365. Bringing the non-monetary policy related functions of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System into the appropriations process.
Subtitle F—International Processes
Sec. 371. Requirements for international processes.
Subtitle G—Unfunded Mandates Reform
Sec. 381. Definitions.
Sec. 382. Statements to accompany significant regulatory actions.
Sec. 383. Small government agency plan.
Sec. 384. State, local, and tribal government and private sector input.
Sec. 385. Least burdensome option or explanation required.
Sec. 386. Assistance to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Sec. 387. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs responsibilities.
Sec. 388. Judicial review.
Subtitle H—Enforcement Coordination
Sec. 391. Policies to minimize duplication of enforcement efforts.
Subtitle I—Penalties For Unauthorized Disclosures
Sec. 392. Criminal penalty for unauthorized disclosures.
Subtitle II—Stop Settlement Slush Funds
Sec. 393. Limitation on donations made pursuant to settlement agreements to which certain departments or agencies are a party.
TITLE IV—UNLEASHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, INNOVATORS, AND JOB CREATORS BY FACILITATING CAPITAL FORMATION
Subtitle A—Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, And Brokerage Simplification
Sec. 401. Registration exemption for merger and acquisition brokers.
Sec. 402. Effective date.
Subtitle B—Encouraging Employee Ownership
Sec. 406. Increased threshold for disclosures relating to compensatory benefit plans.
Subtitle C—Small Company Disclosure Simplification
Sec. 411. Exemption from XBRL requirements for emerging growth companies and other smaller companies.
Sec. 412. Analysis by the SEC.
Sec. 413. Report to Congress.
Sec. 414. Definitions.
Subtitle D—Securities And Exchange Commission Overpayment Credit
Sec. 416. Refunding or crediting overpayment of section 31 fees.
Subtitle E—Fair Access To Investment Research
Sec. 421. Safe harbor for investment fund research.
Subtitle F—Accelerating Access To Capital
Sec. 426. Expanded eligibility for use of Form S–3.
Subtitle G—Enhancing The RAISE Act
Sec. 431. Certain accredited investor transactions.
Subtitle H—Small Business Credit Availability
Sec. 436. Business development company ownership of securities of investment advisers and certain financial companies.
Sec. 437. Expanding access to capital for business development companies.
Sec. 438. Parity for business development companies regarding offering and proxy rules.
Subtitle I—Fostering Innovation
Sec. 441. Temporary exemption for low-revenue issuers.
Subtitle J—Small Business Capital Formation Enhancement
Sec. 446. Annual review of government-business forum on capital formation.
Subtitle K—Helping Angels Lead Our Startups
Sec. 451. Definition of angel investor group.
Sec. 452. Clarification of general solicitation.
Subtitle L—Main Street Growth
Sec. 456. Venture exchanges.
Subtitle M—Micro Offering Safe Harbor
Sec. 461. Exemptions for micro-offerings.
Subtitle N—Private Placement Improvement
Sec. 466. Revisions to SEC Regulation D.
Subtitle O—Supporting America’s Innovators
Sec. 471. Investor limitation for qualifying venture capital funds.
Subtitle P—Fix Crowdfunding
Sec. 476. Crowdfunding exemption.
Sec. 477. Exclusion of crowdfunding investors from shareholder cap.
Sec. 478. Preemption of State law.
Sec. 479. Treatment of funding portals.
Subtitle Q—Corporate Governance Reform And Transparency
Sec. 481. Definitions.
Sec. 482. Registration of proxy advisory firms.
Sec. 483. Commission annual report.
Subtitle R—Senior Safe
Sec. 491. Immunity.
Sec. 492. Training required.
Sec. 493. Relationship to State law.
Subtitle S—National Securities Exchange Regulatory Parity
Sec. 496. Application of exemption.
Subtitle T—Private Company Flexibility And Growth
Sec. 497. Shareholder threshold for registration.
Subtitle U—Small Company Capital Formation Enhancements
Sec. 498. JOBS Act-related exemption.
Subtitle V—Encouraging Public Offerings
Sec. 499. Expanding testing the waters and confidential submissions.
TITLE V—REGULATORY RELIEF FOR MAIN STREET AND COMMUNITY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Subtitle A—Preserving Access To Manufactured Housing
Sec. 501. Mortgage originator definition.
Sec. 502. High-Cost mortgage definition.
Subtitle B—Mortgage Choice
Sec. 506. Definition of points and fees.
Subtitle C—Financial Institution Customer Protection
Sec. 511. Requirements for deposit account termination requests and orders.
Sec. 512. Amendments to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989.
Subtitle D—Portfolio Lending And Mortgage Access
Sec. 516. Safe harbor for certain loans held on portfolio.
Subtitle E—Application Of The Expedited Funds Availability Act
Sec. 521. Application of the Expedited Funds Availability Act.
Subtitle F—Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement
Sec. 526. Changes required to small bank holding company policy statement on assessment of financial and managerial factors.
Subtitle G—Community Institution Mortgage Relief
Sec. 531. Community financial institution mortgage relief.
Subtitle H—Financial Institutions Examination Fairness And Reform
Sec. 536. Timeliness of examination reports.
Subtitle I—National Credit Union Administration Budget Transparency
Sec. 541. Budget transparency for the NCUA.
Subtitle J—Taking Account Of Institutions With Low Operation Risk
Sec. 546. Regulations appropriate to business models.
Subtitle K—Federal Savings Association Charter Flexibility
Sec. 551. Option for Federal savings associations to operate as a covered savings association.
Subtitle L—SAFE Transitional Licensing
Sec. 556. Eliminating barriers to jobs for loan originators.
Subtitle M—Right To Lend
Sec. 561. Small business loan data collection requirement.
Subtitle N—Community Bank Reporting Relief
Sec. 566. Short form call report.
Subtitle O—Homeowner Information Privacy Protection
Sec. 571. Study regarding privacy of information collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.
Subtitle P—Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment
Sec. 576. Depository institutions subject to maintenance of records and disclosure requirements.
Subtitle Q—Protecting Consumers’ Access To Credit
Sec. 581. Rate of interest after transfer of loan.
Subtitle R—NCUA Overhead Transparency
Sec. 586. Fund transparency.
Subtitle S—Housing Opportunities Made Easier
Sec. 591. Clarification of donated services to non-profits.
TITLE VI—REGULATORY RELIEF FOR STRONGLY CAPITALIZED, WELL MANAGED BANKING ORGANIZATIONS
Sec. 601. Capital election.
Sec. 602. Regulatory relief.
Sec. 603. Contingent capital study.
Sec. 604. Study on altering the current prompt corrective action rules.
Sec. 605. Definitions.
TITLE VII—EMPOWERING AMERICANS TO ACHIEVE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
Subtitle A—Separation Of Powers And Liberty Enhancements
Sec. 711. Consumer Law Enforcement Agency.
Sec. 712. Authority of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Sec. 713. Bringing the Agency into the regular appropriations process.
Sec. 714. Consumer Law Enforcement Agency Inspector General Reform.
Sec. 715. Private parties authorized to compel the Agency to seek sanctions by filing civil actions; Adjudications deemed actions.
Sec. 716. Civil investigative demands to be appealed to courts.
Sec. 717. Agency dual mandate and economic analysis.
Sec. 718. No deference to Agency interpretation.
Subtitle B—Administrative Enhancements
Sec. 721. Advisory opinions.
Sec. 722. Reform of Consumer Financial Civil Penalty Fund.
Sec. 723. Agency pay fairness.
Sec. 724. Elimination of market monitoring functions.
Sec. 725. Reforms to mandatory functional units.
Sec. 726. Repeal of mandatory advisory board.
Sec. 727. Elimination of supervision authority.
Sec. 728. Transfer of old OTS building from OCC to GSA.
Sec. 729. Limitation on Agency authority.
Subtitle C—Policy Enhancements
Sec. 731. Consumer right to financial privacy.
Sec. 732. Repeal of Council authority to set aside Agency rules and requirement of safety and soundness considerations when issuing rules.
Sec. 733. Removal of authority to regulate small-dollar credit.
Sec. 734. Reforming indirect auto financing guidance.
Sec. 735. Prohibition of Government price controls for payment card transactions.
Sec. 736. Removal of Agency UDAAP authority.
Sec. 737. Preservation of UDAP authority for Federal banking regulators.
Sec. 738. Repeal of authority to restrict arbitration.
TITLE VIII—CAPITAL MARKETS IMPROVEMENTS
Subtitle A—SEC Reform, Restructuring, And Accountability
Sec. 801. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 802. Report on unobligated appropriations.
Sec. 803. SEC Reserve Fund abolished.
Sec. 804. Fees to offset appropriations.
Sec. 805. Commission relocation funding prohibition.
Sec. 806. Implementation of recommendations.
Sec. 807. Office of Credit Ratings to report to the Division of Trading and Markets.
Sec. 808. Office of Municipal Securities to report to the Division of Trading and Markets.
Sec. 809. Independence of Commission Ombudsman.
Sec. 810. Investor Advisory Committee improvements.
Sec. 811. Duties of Investor Advocate.
Sec. 812. Elimination of exemption of Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee from Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Sec. 813. Internal risk controls.
Sec. 814. Applicability of notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act to guidance voted on by the Commission.
Sec. 815. Limitation on pilot programs.
Sec. 816. Procedure for obtaining certain intellectual property.
Sec. 817. Process for closing investigations.
Sec. 818. Enforcement Ombudsman.
Sec. 819. Adequate notice.
Sec. 820. Advisory committee on Commission’s enforcement policies and practices.
Sec. 821. Process to permit recipient of Wells notification to appear before Commission staff in-person.
Sec. 822. Publication of enforcement manual.
Sec. 823. Private parties authorized to compel the Securities and Exchange Commission to seek sanctions by filing civil actions.
Sec. 824. Certain findings required to approve civil money penalties against issuers.
Sec. 825. Repeal of authority of the Commission to prohibit persons from serving as officers or directors.
Sec. 826. Subpoena duration and renewal.
Sec. 827. Elimination of automatic disqualifications.
Sec. 828. Denial of award to culpable whistleblowers.
Sec. 829. Confidentiality of records obtained from foreign securities and law enforcement authorities.
Sec. 830. Clarification of authority to impose sanctions on persons associated with a broker or dealer.
Sec. 831. Complaint and burden of proof requirements for certain actions for breach of fiduciary duty.
Sec. 832. Congressional access to information held by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
Sec. 833. Abolishing Investor Advisory Group.
Sec. 834. Repeal of requirement for Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to use certain funds for merit scholarship program.
Sec. 835. Reallocation of fines for violations of rules of municipal securities rulemaking board.
Subtitle B—Eliminating Excessive Government Intrusion In The Capital Markets
Sec. 841. Repeal of Department of Labor fiduciary rule and requirements prior to rulemaking relating to standards of conduct for brokers and dealers.
Sec. 842. Exemption from risk retention requirements for nonresidential mortgage.
Sec. 843. Frequency of shareholder approval of executive compensation.
Sec. 844. Shareholder Proposals.
Sec. 845. Prohibition on requiring a single ballot.
Sec. 846. Requirement for municipal advisor for issuers of municipal securities.
Sec. 847. Small issuer exemption from internal control evaluation.
Sec. 848. Streamlining of applications for an exemption from the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Sec. 849. Restriction on recovery of erroneously awarded compensation.
Sec. 850. Exemptive authority for certain provisions relating to registration of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations.
Sec. 851. Risk-based examinations of Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations.
Sec. 852. Transparency of credit rating methodologies.
Sec. 853. Repeal of certain attestation requirements relating to credit ratings.
Sec. 854. Look-back review by NRSRO.
Sec. 855. Approval of credit rating procedures and methodologies.
Sec. 856. Exception for providing certain material information relating to a credit rating.
Sec. 857. Repeals.
Sec. 858. Exemption of and reporting by private equity fund advisers.
Sec. 859. Records and reports of private funds.
Sec. 860. Definition of accredited investor.
Sec. 861. Repeal of certain provisions requiring a study and report to Congress.
Sec. 862. Repeal.
Subtitle C—Harmonization Of Derivatives Rules
Sec. 871. Commissions review and harmonization of rules relating to the regulation of over-the-counter swaps markets.
Sec. 872. Treatment of transactions between affiliates.
TITLE IX—REPEAL OF THE VOLCKER RULE AND OTHER PROVISIONS
Sec. 901. Repeals.
TITLE X—FED OVERSIGHT REFORM AND MODERNIZATION
Sec. 1001. Requirements for policy rules of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Sec. 1002. Federal Open Market Committee blackout period.
Sec. 1003. Public transcripts of FOMC meetings.
Sec. 1004. Membership of Federal Open Market Committee.
Sec. 1005. Frequency of testimony of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to Congress.
Sec. 1006. Vice Chairman for Supervision report requirement.
Sec. 1007. Salaries, financial disclosures, and office staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Sec. 1008. Amendments to powers of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Sec. 1009. Interest rates on balances maintained at a Federal Reserve bank by depository institutions established by Federal Open Market Committee.
Sec. 1010. Audit reform and transparency for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Sec. 1011. Establishment of a Centennial Monetary Commission.
TITLE XI—IMPROVING INSURANCE COORDINATION THROUGH AN INDEPENDENT ADVOCATE
Sec. 1101. Repeal of the Federal Insurance Office; Creation of the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate.
Sec. 1102. Treatment of covered agreements.
TITLE XII—TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS
Sec. 1201. Table of contents; Definitional corrections.
Sec. 1202. Antitrust savings clause corrections.
Sec. 1203. Title I corrections.
Sec. 1204. Title III corrections.
Sec. 1205. Title IV correction.
Sec. 1206. Title VI corrections.
Sec. 1207. Title VII corrections.
Sec. 1208. Title IX corrections.
Sec. 1209. Title X corrections.
Sec. 1210. Title XII correction.
Sec. 1211. Title XIV correction.
Sec. 1212. Technical corrections to other statutes.