Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

5 years later, 5 things to know about Dodd-Frank

5 things to know about Dodd-Frank

Big banks are a lot bigger but probably safer since the Dodd-Frank law implementation five years ago.

Consumers have more information about credit but less access to it as well.

Meanwhile, bond pros worry that restrictions on trading activities will create a liquidity problem that could make the financial crisis look like the warmup to something far bigger and more ominous.

In all, the anniversary of the landmark banking legislation brings as many questions as answers. Banks have higher levels of capital reserves but those too-big-to-fail Wall Street supermarkets have only surged in size over the years.

"With Dodd-Frank, we began to unrig the game," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Washington firebrand and consumer advocate, says in an Americans for Financial Reform video touting the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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The CFPB has been responsible for a major push toward shielding consumers from credit abuses. Yet over the years some 275 million people have lost their access to credit accounts.

"We need a world where the largest financial institutions in this country understand they can't build their business models around cheating people, and they can't get out there and take crazy risks and expect the American taxpayer to pick up the tab when something goes wrong," Warren says in the video. "That's what we stand for, and we've got to stand for it every single day."

Critics, however, disagree, worrying that the law has created regulatory overreach that actually makes things tougher for consumers.

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For instance, the years since the law was implemented have seen 1,250 credit unions shutter, according to the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, flatly declared the law "a failure" in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this week, saying, "Big banks are bigger, smaller banks are fewer and the financial system is less stable."

Indeed, the banking system's assets have swelled 30 percent since the financial crisis, and the top five institutions control nearly 50 percent of the total.

Those are just some of the conflicts posed by the law, with more likely to come, as the above video discusses.