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BPC’s Financial Reform Work Praised at Senate Hearing

On Tuesday, March 24, Mark Olson, co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Regulatory Architecture Task Force, testified before the Senate Banking Committee on ways to encourage smarter regulation for regional banks. He focused on the task force’s recommendation to raise the so-called “bank SIFI” asset threshold from $50 billion to $250 billion, while giving regulators more flexibility to determine whether or not a financial institution should be subject to more rigorous oversight.

In addition, Olson highlighted two additional recommendations from the task force’s April 2014 report, Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity: A Road Map for a More Effective Regulatory Architecture, which he authored with fellow co-chair Richard Neiman, the former New York State Banking Superintendent. They proposed a pilot program for a consolidated examination force to improve, streamline, and coordinate often overlapping and duplicative exams that many banks face. They also called on the Federal Reserve and other regulators to fully leverage its their authority under Dodd-Frank to tailor rules and avoid one-size-fits-all regulation.

Members of the Senate Banking Committee acknowledged BPC’s work, with Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) citing Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity in his opening statement and entering it into the hearing record. Before expressing interest in BPC’s consolidated examination force proposal, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) told Olson that he “appreciated the work of the Bipartisan Policy Center” and the “need to find some bipartisan compromise” if lawmakers are to get the policy right.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) echoed those sentiments: “I had two years in which we participated in activities at the Bipartisan Policy Center on the Governor’s Council, and I found the approach to be enlightening,” he said. “I found it to be encouraging when we could come together and find ways in which, on a bipartisan basis, we could impact policy change on the national level.”

This post was updated on March 25, 2015 to reflect comments from the hearing.

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