The Financial CHOICE Act would restore accountability, opportunity

Earlier this week, Bill discussed how the Financial CHOICE Act will create opportunity for West Michigan families and strengthen the economy while holding Wall Street and Washington accountable. Below is his op-ed that originally appeared in the Holland Sentinel.
The economic downturn in 2008 caused Michiganders to lose their jobs, families to lose their savings, and some even to lose their homes.
In response to this seismic event, Democrats in Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. According to its supporters, Dodd-Frank was a panacea of regulatory solutions that would end “too big to fail” and prevent a future financial crisis. In reality, Dodd-Frank has made it even more difficult for struggling families along the lakeshore and across West Michigan to secure a future for themselves and for their children.
First, Dodd-Frank did not end the notion that certain banks are “too big to fail.” Instead, this flawed law enshrined it. Today, hardworking taxpayers continue to be on the hook for Wall Street’s poor business decisions thanks to Dodd-Frank’s bailout fund.
Secondly, since Dodd-Frank was enacted, the largest banks are even bigger while the small banks are fewer. Community financial institutions that had nothing to with the crisis are being strangled by overly burdensome regulations that were intended for massive banks. This is problematic because we need our community and midsize regional financial institutions to have the ability to lend to consumers and small businesses so they can innovate, invest and create jobs.
In order to restore economic opportunity for hardworking families, I am working with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to introduce the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act. This commonsense legislation will protect consumers by restoring accountability, ending taxpayer bailouts, and providing regulatory relief for community financial institutions.
Here’s how the Financial CHOICE Act works:

  • Restore accountability: At the center of the Financial CHOICE Act is accountability. Our legislation requires strong capitalization standards for banks and imposes the toughest penalties in history to protect consumers from financial fraud. The Financial CHOICE Act also holds bureaucrats in Washington accountable to the American people by placing the regulators themselves under congressional appropriations, which restores an important check on regulatory overreach. In order to get our economy working for all Americans, we need to ensure both Washington and Wall Street are held accountable.
  • End “too big to fail”: Since the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010, the big banks have gotten bigger and the small banks have disappeared at an alarming rate. The Financial CHOICE Act protects taxpayers by eliminating “too big to fail” labels once and for all. Instead, we repeal this self-fulfilling prophecy and require failing institutions to liquidate through a streamlined bankruptcy without depending on taxpayer dollars.
  • Enact regulatory relief for community banks: Dodd-Frank created a one-size-fits-all regulatory structure that treats community banks the same as Wall Street Banks. Unlike some of the largest banks, community financial institutions across West Michigan can’t afford to hire hundreds of lawyers and compliance officers to sort through Dodd-Frank’s red tape. These regulatory costs are passed on to consumers in the form of increased fees, fewer products and services and more limited credit options. The Financial CHOICE Act eliminates this one-size-fits-all regulation by providing commonsense relief that allows community banks and credit unions to utilize their resources for lending and meeting the needs of their customers.

The political grandstanding of Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Bernie Sanders has actually made it more difficult for hardworking families and small businesses in West Michigan to get ahead. Injecting more Washington into our economy wouldn’t have prevented the crisis in 2008 and it won’t provide a remedy for the lasting negative effects Americans are experiencing today.
The Financial CHOICE Act will protect taxpayers and consumers alike, remove the anti-growth regulations put in place by Dodd-Frank and provide more opportunity for hardworking individuals in West Michigan to achieve financial independence.