Warren or no, many observers see a role for the CFPB in helping banking improve its standing with consumers.
"Banking has turned into a 'gotcha' industry, where we offer you the free checking, but oh, if you overdraw, we gotcha," says Georgetown University professor James Angel. "Consumers generally dislike such industries with a passion, and for good reason."
Dimon argued in his annual shareholder letter earlier this year that JPMorgan supported the CFPB but opposed the notion that it should operate as a standalone agency, which, he wrote, would have created "overlap, confusion and bureaucracy." (JPMorgan got its way: the CFPB will operate within the Federal Reserve System.)
Still, Dimon in his comments to Bernanke voiced frustration with other regulatory measures, such as newly-higher capital standards, an apparent reference to a speech by Fed Governor Dan Tarullo last week. In the speech, Tarullo called for a capital cushion that, according to a report from Stifel Nicholas, was as much as double what the banking industry had been expecting.Tarullo's comments "caught the investment community completely off guard," Stifel's report stated, adding the capital requirements he proposed are "unrealistically and unnecessarily high and would have profoundly negative effects on both the U.S. economy and U.S. banks' ability to compete globally." But Harvard Business School professor David Moss believes the Fed's leverage targets for the largest institutions are "in the ballpark," in terms of what is needed. "A highly levered, supersized financial institution poses a significant danger, and so it's imperative that we bring down that leverage," Moss says. John Kanas, CEO of BankUnited (BKU) who ran North Fork Bank until it was sold to Capital One Financial (COF) says he is sympathetic to both sides. Dimon, he says, "is expressing a frustration that many others in the industry would like to express as well. The problem is, unfortunately banks right now are targeted in the minds of both Congress and consumers, and probably for good reason, as having been a big contributor to the problems in our economy and so when Jamie says 'Mr. Chairman, don't you think it's possible that excess regulation will hold back our growth?' That's what he says, and what many Americans hear is 'We'd like to be able to make more money and we would like less regulation,'" Kanas says.
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