Former Democratic Congressman Barney Frank has practically become synonymous with the term "too big to fail."
Along with former Connecticut Sen. and fellow Democrat Chris Dodd, the co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, wrote the law to help prevent another financial crisis. This week marks five years since President Barack Obama signed it into law.
Wall Street and a host of other critics have faulted the law for creating a cumbersome network of new regulations, without solving the fundamental problem posed by what regulators now consider "systemically important" institutions whose failure might trigger another financial pandemic.
Yet Frank, the former chair of the House Financial Services Committee, said the average American is much better off than before the rules were added.
"The single biggest cause of the terrible crisis we had was that mortgages were being granted to people who shouldn't have gotten the mortgage and couldn't repay them," Frank told CNBC's "On the Money."
"This was bad for them, it was bad for everybody on their block, it was bad for financial institutions and the whole economy," he added.
Frank said that as a result of Dodd-Frank, those "subprime mortgages can't be made anymore." That is both a consumer protection and a protection for the system, he added.
A study by the Brookings Institution found a sharp slowdown in bank lending activity since the crisis, and points out that phenomenon "could hamper future growth."