For millions of consumers in the early part of the 2000s, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 came too late.
The massive legislation, passed in the aftermath of the Great Recession, was intended to better regulate financial institutions and safeguard their customers against risky loans and abusive practices.
Yet by the end of 2009, roughly 7.1 million homeowners already had lost their homes to foreclosures since 2006, due largely to taking on risky, unsustainable mortgages.
Some lenders allowed borrowers to take on more than the home's value or did not confirm a borrower's income. Other types of loans became unaffordable as interest rates rose and home values plummeted.
Unemployment stood at 9.9 percent heading into 2010 after layoffs rose and hiring ground to a halt. Delinquencies on credit cards also peaked in 2009, as many consumers struggled to stay afloat.
In the eyes of critics, U.S. households were left holding the bag in the wake of the financial crisis due to what they viewed as greedy practices by banks. And by the time Dodd-Frank was signed into law in July 2010 by then-President Barack Obama, consumers figured prominently in its passage.
The measure partly was intended to prevent another potential Wall Street meltdown, which came to a head after the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers — a decade ago this week — revealed the breadth and depth of the subprime mortgage disaster.