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Dodd-Frank Still a Work in Progress

Davis Polk Chart

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was supposed to force U.S. businesses in the financial sector to operate more responsibly and in a more consumer-friendly manner, but one year after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, the vast majority of proposals have yet to be implemented.

With the way Washington operates, a year after the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was passed, the vast majority of it proposals have yet to be implemented.

Of the more than 400 rules mandated in the package to regulate everything from bank bailouts to credit reports, just 49 have been finalized, according to a preliminary analysis of the legislation's progress in its first year by the law firm Davis Polk. In fact, the deadline will have passed for finalizing 131 of these proposals by Thursday, and nearly 200 have deadlines approaching this year.

To those who have kept a close eye on the legislation's progress, this delay was very much expected.

"Congress put these deadlines in to put people's feet to the fire, knowing that they might be missed," says Annette L. Nazareth, a partner at Davis Polk who previously served on the Securities and Exchange Commission under President George W. Bush. "The rules around the infrastructure of this multitrillion-dollar market are being decided now. They are being written and adopted and it's sufficiently complicated that it takes a lot of time and thought to get it right."

To make matters more difficult, Nazareth notes that the political climate inside the beltway has shifted noticeably against implementing the rules in the package.

"Part of what's going on in the political arena is that budgets have not been approved at the level that was expected," Nazareth says, referring to the money required to properly staff governmental agencies and implement the regulatory program. "But arguably even with additional staff, it would not have been possible to propose and adopt the number and complexity of rules that were required by the statute in this timeframe."

Dozens of rules have been implemented already, though, or are expected to be in the not-too-distant future, which could affect businesses and consumers in big (and small) ways.

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