Warren wants Senate ‘on the record’ on bank bill

  • FILE - In this March 27, 2017, file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., addresses business leaders during a New England Council luncheon in Boston. Warren warned Friday, June 16, that President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are preparing to deliver “a knockout blow” to the nation’s middle-class. The liberal icon delivered the comments to a packed theater in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square. It was the final scheduled stop in a book tour that featured a half-dozen appearances nationwide over the last two months. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) Steven Senne


State House News Service
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren kept the pressure up on Tuesday ahead of an expected Senate vote on banking deregulation this week, warning that it would weaken oversight of many of the country’s largest financial institutions and expose minority families to loan discrimination.

Warren, who is seeking re-election in Massachusetts this year, has been on a crusade against the bill that would roll back some of the consumer protections put in place by Dodd-Frank Act after the financial collapse 10 year ago.

The senior senator, in a conference call, said deregulating large banks with between $50 billion and $250 billion in assets would newly expose prospective homebuyers to being steered into risky loans.

The bill would also exempt 85 percent of lending institutions from requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act that they report data on who they’re lending to. The data collected through the mortgage disclosure law allows watchdogs, Warren said, to compare mortgage rates offered to minority borrowers to those offered to white borrowers with similar credit histories.

“The part of the bill that keeps me awake at night is the part that guts our ability to go after mortgage discrimination,” Warren said, describing mortgage discrimination as a root cause of the wealth gap between white and minority families.

“Mortgage discrimination still thrives across this country,” she said.

The Senate could vote on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, as soon as Thursday.

The bill has 12 Democratic co-sponsors, and as many as 16 Democrats could vote in support of the bill, which has been pitched as regulatory relief for small community banks and credit unions.

Crapo last week in a speech used the example of an employee of the Bank of Commerce in Idaho Falls, with just over a $1 billion in assets, who has written about the impact of regulation on her institution.

“Due to excessive regulations related to qualified mortgage loans, and the cost of hiring extra compliance staff to keep up with additional regulation, her bank has had to stop offering consumer mortgages and real estate loans,” he said.

Critics, however, have said that some of the largest national banks, including JP Morgan and Citi, will also benefit.

Warren has delivered a series of floor speeches in opposition to the bill, and on Sunday appeared on two national morning shows to criticize the bill and those who support it.

On Tuesday, Warren took part in a conference call with AFL-CIO Policy Director Damon Silvers and National Urban League President Marc Morial to keep the heat on Republican leadership ahead of the vote.

Warren said opponents of the bill are focused now on the amendment process, and Warren has 17 amendments of her own that she would like to see voted on.

One Warren amendment would prohibit any bank that received more than $1 billion in bailout money after the last financial collapse from being deregulated.

“One of the things the amendments do is they put senators on the record on where they stand on critical issues,” Warren said.