Medium, March 6, 2018: Bank Lobbyist Act makes it easier for banks to discriminate in lending
Banks are rolling in it these days; between record profits in 2017 and the windfall from the December Republican-backed tax cuts, banks have rebounded from 2008’s financial meltdown, and the Dodd-Frank reforms passed in the aftermath of the Great Recession have prevented another crash. So why is the banking industry seeking to undo this progress?
Nicknamed the Bank Lobbyist Act, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) advanced through a procedural vote in the Senate this morning with 67 votes (16 of them Democrats), and is expected to clear the Senate in the coming days. This Act is a banker’s wishlist. Bank lobbyists have descended upon Capitol Hill in recent days, clearly ignoring lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. There are many disturbing aspects of S. 2155, which is part of a larger Trump-backed effort to deregulate the banking industry. One of the most troubling of these is the bill’s rollback for new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting rules, which would exempt 85% of all banks from these important reporting requirements.
Discrimination in lending is still happening: The question is if Congress will move towards legalizing discrimination, in spite of clear opposition of the public, while taking away HMDA and other tools that have worked to promote fair lending and ensure that everyone has access to the American Dream.