U.S. Senate Democrats counter Shelby with own bank regulation bill

Senate Banking Committee Democrats released their own version of a regulation relief bill on Tuesday; keeping the proposed changes tightly focused on small banks and consumer protection. The Democrats’ bill is a rebuke to committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), who officially released his wide-ranging legislation on Monday after circulating a draft version early last week. […]

Senate Banking Committee Democrats released their own version of a regulation relief bill on Tuesday; keeping the proposed changes tightly focused on small banks and consumer protection.

The Democrats’ bill is a rebuke to committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), who officially released his wide-ranging legislation on Monday after circulating a draft version early last week.

Sen. Shelby unveiled his bill after talks with the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), failed to produce a bipartisan agreement. Sen. Brown insisted the legislation apply only to small banks and credit unions.

Sen. Brown’s release of an alternative proposal signed by all 10 Democrats on the committee adds to the steep challenge Sen. Shelby faces in getting enough support to send his bill to the Senate floor and get the 60 votes needed to pass.

Among the more controversial proposals in the Shelby bill is increasing the threshold used to determine whether a bank is systemically important from $50 billion in assets to $500 billion.)

Another is loosening federal mortgage restrictions for all banks that agree to hold the loans on their books, outlined in the bill as a safe harbor for so-called qualified mortgages. The Shelby bill also proposes several changes to financial regulators, including the Federal Reserve.

The Democrats’ alternative bill does not address the systemic threshold but does offer a similar safe harbor for qualified mortgages, though only for banks that have less than $10 billion in total assets. It also contains small bank relief measures similar to those proposed by Shelby, and enables the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enforce legislation meant to help members of the U.S. armed services.

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