Business & Tech

Banks could face tighter scrutiny under Rep. Maxine Waters

Representative Maxine Waters has opposed looser regulations on financial services firms.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Women’s Media Center
Representative Maxine Waters has opposed looser regulations on financial services firms.

NEW YORK — Come January, the banking industry is going to be on Representative Maxine Waters’ time.

With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, the California Democrat is expected to become chairwoman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the nation’s banking system and its regulators.

Waters is no friend to the nation’s biggest banks and Wall Street, and has been a vocal critic of President Trump and his administration. She has called for more regulation of banks, and has opposed Trump’s political appointees moving to roll back regulations on banks and other financial services companies.

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With a Republican-controlled Senate and Trump in the White House, it is unlikely Waters’ proposed regulations on banks will make it into law. However, it’s also much less likely that any new deregulatory bills get through, either.

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Where Waters will likely have the most power will be in her subpoena and investigatory powers that come as head of the committee.

One particular target for Waters will likely be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since Republicans took over the watchdog agency last year, the CFPB has made many about-faces on rules and regulations that it wrote under the President Barack Obama.

The CFPB has not faced much Congressional oversight since Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director and acting director of the CFPB, took over.

Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger, who worked under Mulvaney in the Office of Management and Budget, to be the next permanent director of the Bureau.

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If she is confirmed, which is likely since Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate and extended their gains in Tuesday’s election, any moves she and the Bureau make will likely come under increased scrutiny of Maxine’s committee.

Banks and their executives also are more likely to be called to testify in front of Congress. Democrats have been increasingly vocal about bringing scandal-plagued Wells Fargo in front of Congress again to discuss some of the bank’s more recent missteps.

There’s also likely to be more scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, which has been the primary financier of Trump’s business entities since before he became president.