On a conference call with Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions David Nason yesterday, Treasury Department officials announced that they will implement many parts of their plan to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory structure by executive order. This includes "streamlining the approval process for securities that contributed to the crisis now roiling Wall Street."
According to the Washington Post, "The Treasury's initiatives seek to sweep away the current patchwork of regulation over the coming decade in favor of three more powerful agencies to oversee banking, market stability, and consumer and investor protection."
Treasury officials also acknowledged that the plan is "silent on CRA," or the Community Reinvestment Act.
According to the New York Times, a Treasury Department plan released (over a weekend to the press and selected insiders only) would give substantial new power to the Federal Reserve Board. "The Treasury plan would let Fed officials examine the practices and even the internal bookkeeping of brokerage firms, hedge funds, commodity-trading exchanges and any other institution that might pose a risk to the overall financial system." This would be a significant expansion of the central bank’s regulatory mission.
We are not, at this point, opposed to this effort. We noted, in an October 2, 1998 filing with the DC Circuit of the US Court of Appeals (Case Number 98-1459), our belief that the Fed should be designated a "Super-regulator, with broad responsibility for overseeing the activities of banks, thrifts, pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, brokerage firms and investment banks.
We believe social investors need to review the plan carefully. The Times stated: