President-elect Donald Trump has said that he wants to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the financial reform legislation that was passed by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Republicans have criticized Dodd-Frank, which was named for the two Democratic congressman who worked on the law, then Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd of Connecticut and then Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
"It makes it very hard for bankers to loan money for people to create jobs, for people with businesses to create jobs, and that has to stop," Trump told Reuters in May.
But at a joint economic committee hearing on the U.S. economic outlook, Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen said, "I think Dodd-Frank was very important in fostering those changes, and we should feel glad our financial system is now operating on a safer and sounder footing."
Dismantling all or part of Dodd-Frank could be done with the help of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Hensarling is under consideration to be Trump's Treasury secretary, though nothing is confirmed yet, according toBloomberg.
On Sept. 13, Hensarling introduced a replacement bill called the Financial CHOICE Act that could serve as a template for getting rid of or chipping away at Dodd-Frank.
Here are three ways that the financial system could be affected if Dodd-Frank goes the way of the dodo.
1. Community Banks
Dismantling Dodd-Frank could help community banks, which have found it difficult to spread huge compliance costs over a limited asset base. This has put them at an increasing competitive disadvantage by comparison with larger banks.
On Trump's transition website, Dodd-Frank was cited as the reason for the disappearance of many community banks.
"The big banks got bigger, while community financial institutions have disappeared at a rate of one per day, and taxpayers remain on the hook for bailing out financial firms deemed 'too big to fail,'" according to the website.
2. Regulatory bodies
Dismantling Dodd-Frank could also affect the future of regulatory bodies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Financial Stability Oversight Council.
In the past, Democrats and Republicans have disagreed about the CFPB, which recently finedWells Fargo $185 million for its improper sales practices.
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The GOP has labeled the CFPB a "rogue agency."
FSOC could be another casualty, as it has been deeply criticized by many Republicans who have said that it is secretive.
The agency allows breaking up of institutions that pose threats to the financial system, consolidated supervision of non-banking financial firms and regulatory coordination.
3. "Too-big-to-fail" banks
Dodd-Frank was a regulatory burden to big banks, weighing down their balance sheets with huge compliance costs.
Getting rid of sections of Dodd-Frank like the Volcker Rule could relieve mega-banks that have been restricted from using taxpayer-insured deposits under the rule.
So far, the rule has eliminated prop trading, pushed speculative risk out of the too-big-to fail FDIC-backed banks, and realigned risky trading.
Living wills could also come under scrutiny, as Hensarling has criticized them for their lack of transparency. Big banks are required to have resolution plans, known as living wills, under the law to convince regulators that they won't disrupt the financial system in case they go bankrupt.
In April, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, among others, failed to meet the requirements of the living wills.
If living wills and the Volcker Rule are scaled back, banks would likely see a huge drop in regulatory costs, but this could get offset if the new administration introduces stricter regulations to replace them.
However, if no new regulations are introduced, then the too-big-to-fail banks may only look bigger with significant systemic risk to the financial system.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.