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What the banks are reading on the consumer financial protection agency

Via Mike Allen, some firm on K Street is thinking hard enough about the Consumer Financial Protection Agency that they've released a 189-page document exhaustively detailing the different CFPA ideas out there, and how they differ from one another. You can download it here. A quick skim will give you an idea of how hard FinReg is going to be to do. Unlike on health-care reform, the public knows virtually nothing about it, there's very little preexisting expertise in Washington on the topic, there are no basic metrics (like how many uninsured are getting covered) that can broadly define the bill, and the opponents will be much, much, much better at fighting out the details.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 7, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Next: Michael Lewis and the idiots


Oh god! FinReg is back.

Posted by: pj_camp | April 7, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

If financial firms cannot all be regulated effectively, could there be "safe haven" designations for banks, investment firms, credit cards, heck even accounting firms, operating within simple legible rules and governance?

Inside the palisades, clarity, reasonable returns, and boring stability. Outside the safe haven, chaos, gambling, card sharks, liars and no safety at all. Sort of like now, except investors would be able to tell the difference.

Posted by: NoniMausa | April 7, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Will the new consumer financial protection agency have authority to regulate the "nationwide specialty insurance consumer reporting agencies" as defined by FACTA?

Few people realize the Medical Information Bureau Inc. (MIB), Ingenix Inc. and Milliman Inc. have personal medical report files on them. Like the credit-reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, these "nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies" monitor virtually every aspect of a person’s health care.

The health insurance lobbying group AHIP says the Medical Information Bureau Inc (MIB), a private trade group for insurers founded more than a century ago, operates the most extensive database of medical information on individuals who have previously applied for health, life, disability income, critical illness and long-term care insurance in North America.

According to the Washington Post, these medical reports, which are “like credit reports for your health records,” have been created for more than 200 million Americans. The Federal Trade Commission warns that your medical report files may include both medical and non-medical information about you. For instance, personal data collected by the MIB includes medical conditions, your CREDIT REPORT history, driving records, criminal activity, drug use, sexual orientation, lifestyle activities, international travel, participation in hazardous sports, and personal or family genetic history.

Using information from these medical report files, insurance companies can charge you higher premiums or terminate your coverage altogether.

Posted by: mosdef | April 7, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, the drama starting next week will be whether the Senate Republicans have laid a partisan trap for Dodd’s finreg bill [1] [2], or were they also “bought off” by Wall Street [3].

In pushing for passage of finreg this year, my guess is that Wall Street is getting ahead of the wave to head off “real” reform.

If you think about it, aren’t we putting the cart before the horse in that the Angelides-chaired Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission should first report their findings that identify the “real” problems to be solved?

[1] Steven Pearlstein, “Dodd 2.0: Maybe we need to reboot,” Washington Post, March 17, 2010 (“They've come up with a set of jury-rigged patches designed to placate as many interest groups as possible while preserving the existing regulatory apparatus and prerogatives. … There are so many political accommodations involving carve-outs and size limits and overlapping responsibilities that it creates exactly the kind of complexity, the opportunities for regulatory arbitrage and the lack of accountability that got us into this mess in the first place.”).

[2] Mike Konczal, “What Would Goldman Lobbyists Hate About the Financial Reform Bill?,” New Deal 2.0, March 18, 2010 (“What would an investment bank hate about this bill, and lobby hard to change? I actually read this bill as if I was a Goldman Sachs lobbyist, looking for all the sections that I hated and made a list of what items I needed to lobby hard on to kill or modify. My final verdict, by the time I got to the end? If I was a Goldman lobbyist, I’d probably shrug and go ‘eh, pass it.’”).

[3] Glenn Greenwald, “More on those ‘neutralized’ special interests,”, March 23, 2010 (“It details the success they had in killing any real competition and reform in the bill (i.e., the public option, Medicare expansion, drug-reimportation, bulk price negotiations, and an end to the insurers' anti-trust exemption). … It was enacted by invoking and strengthening precisely the same corrupt, sleazy practices that have long driven Washington. … Corporate control of the Government is one of the most serious problems, if not the single most serious problem, the nation faces.”).

Posted by: msa_intp | April 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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