Senate Adds Deposit Insurance Amendment to Financial Reform Bill

The US Senate added several amendments to S 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, that raise the deposit insurance fees levied on some banks and provide greater authority and protection in the financial markets. As Congress continues to review financial regulatory reform amendments, certain other proposals are being left on the cutting room floor. The Senate resumed consideration of the bill this week — adding a handful of amendments — after Senate Republicans blocked debate for several days. Senators passed an amendment Thursday that requires the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to alter its definition of the assessment base for FDIC insurance premiums. Under the amendment, financial institutions would calculate insurance premium based on assets, rather than deposits, meaning larger firms with more assets would be required to pay more in premiums. Senators also passed by voice votes amendments to provide the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with “clear antimarket manipulation authority” and to provide “whistleblower protections for employees of nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations,” according to a statement. Senators shot down, by a 38-61 vote, an amendment sponsored by Sen Richard Shelby (R-AL) that would establish a Division of Consumer Financial Protection within the FDIC. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), in a statement on the vote, said the amendment “would have gutted consumer protections and carved out exemptions for virtually all of Wall Street.” The Senate also barred an amendment that would have changed the definition of the term “financial company” for purposes of limiting non-deposit liabilities, as well as an amendment that would have imposed leverage and liability limits on bank holding companies and financial firms. Essentially, this amendment would have capped the size of banks. Write to Diana Golobay.

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