Banks Get Delay In New Rule, Keeping Taxpayers On The Hook For Risky Trades

Regulators have decided to delay rules that would have required Wall Street banks to isolate some of their risky derivatives trading in entities not backed by taxpayers. Banks will now have until at least 2015 to comply with the rules, Bloomberg News reports:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Bank of America Corp. won a delay of Dodd-Frank Act requirements that they wall off some derivatives trades from bank units backed by federal deposit insurance.

Commercial banks including the Wall Street firms may get as long as an additional two years — until July 2015 — to comply with the rules, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said in a notice yesterday. The provision was included in Dodd- Frank, the 2010 financial-regulation law, as a way to limit taxpayer support for risky derivatives trades…The so-called push-out provision of Dodd-Frank requires that equity, some commodity and non-cleared credit derivatives be moved — or pushed out — into separate affiliates without federal assistance.

“The procrastination of both regulators and the banks on this portion of Dodd-Frank has been pretty amazing,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform. “The swaps-pushout provision is a really important part and something that absolutely should be a central part of the regulatory framework.” As economists Jane D’Arista and Gerald Epstein wrote, “the intent is to remove risky activities from the core banking functions that are essential to the economy and to ensure that those risky activities will not trigger the need for a bail out to prevent systemic collapse in the future as they did in the 2008 crisis.”

This is hardly the first rule from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to get bogged down in delays. The Volcker Rule — also meant to rein in risky bank trading with dollars backed by the government — has been delayed, and House Republicans want to push back its implementation even further.