WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bob Corker, a key Senate architect of the regulatory restructuring legislation, said today that it is more important that a new consumer regulator have sufficient authority than whether it is an independent agency.
While declining to unveil details of the legislation, which is still being written, Corker (R-Tenn.) said members of his party don't want a final bill in which consumer protection would trump safety and soundness concerns. He also said there should be more uniformity among consumer regulations.
Corker, who appeared on a panel with fellow Banking Committee Member Mark Warner (D-Va.) at a meeting sponsored by The National Journal, said in any new regulatory structure "you can't have multiple people dealing with financial institutions and giving them mixed signals."
Warner agreed with Corker's comments deemphasizing the significance of where the new agency is located but said the new legislation should be comprehensive and promised that lawmakers are "not simply going to fix the last crisis."
Both lawmakers agreed that the Federal Reserve didn't do enough in the area of consumer regulation in the past, but declined to address recent media reports which said that there has been tentative agreement in the Senate to house the new agency within the Fed.
During a second panel discussion, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica and Independent Community Bankers of America President/CEO Camden Fine agreed that having a few large financial services firms dominate the market is unhealthy.
Mica said the concentration issue needs to be looked at but noted that with approximately $900 billion in assets, all credit unions are smaller than any one of the big banks.