Volcker-Rule Critic Raskin to Amplify Consumer Voice at Treasury
By Kasia Klimasinska and Ian Katz
When Federal Reserve governors voted in 2011 on the Volcker rule ban on banks’ proprietary trading, Sarah Bloom Raskin was alone in opposition. For her, it wasn’t tough enough. Raskin will be among the regulators voting next week on the final version of the rule, which is likely to be stricter than the original proposal. Later this month, the Senate may decide whether to confirm her as the Treasury Department’s No. 2 official and its highest-ranking woman ever. Raskin, a Harvard Law School graduate, has criticized the speculative bets banks make with their own capital as an “activity of low or no real economic value.” As Maryland’s top financial regulator from 2007 to 2010, she took on payday lenders and helped write legislation giving homeowners more time to avoid foreclosure. That record suggests that at Treasury she’ll be hard on the financial industry and protective of consumers. In a speech yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the rule championed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker that’s set to be adopted will prohibit transactions such as JPMorgan (
JPM:US) Chase & Co.’s so-called London Whale and put more responsibility for compliance on top Wall Street executives. If Lew “continues this more aggressive push to finalize the Obama legacy financial-reform structure, then the deputy secretary position will be a very substantive one,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington regulatory research firm. With her background, Raskin “can play a critical role in taking the Dodd-Frank structure over the finish line.”