Bill Proposes Regulator of Financial Products

Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), joined by lawmakers from both the Senate and the House, introduced Tuesday legislation that would create a Financial Product Safety Commission. The czar-like commission would approve mortgage products and oversee the safety and soundness of consumers, according to press statements. “This new safety commission would hold those who offer consumers financial credit accountable and ensure that they act responsibly,” read a statement from Durbin’s office. The bill has rallied support from House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) who has previously stressed that the formation of such a commission is of utmost importance to the business committee. Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, chairman of the TARP oversite committee, has been pushing the theory for years, arguing that consumers have become exposed to increasingly complex mortgage products. The idea is that the Financial Product Safety Commission would be able regulate those products in addition to providing independent advice to consumers. “As Congress embarks on fundamental financial regulatory reform, it is imperative that the improved regulatory system focus not just on the safety and soundness of the providers of financial products, but also on the safety of the consumers of financial products,” Durbin’s office said in a press statement. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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