You remember the Volcker Rule, don’t you? It was the brainchild of former Fed chair Paul Volcker, who wanted to prohibit banks from proprietary trading—that is, betting their own money on risky investments. Volcker figured that prop trading should be done by hedge funds and investment banks, not by regulated commercial banks using house money with an implicit government guarantee.
Well, say sayonara:
The FDIC and four other independent agencies have dropped their proposal to tie the rule to a strict accounting standard — a move that banks argued would have made it more burdensome by subjecting additional trades to heightened supervision. Instead, regulators will give banks the benefit of the doubt on a much wider range of trades, according to the text of the final rule.
….The inclusion of the accounting provision in the original Volcker 2.0 proposal had been key in securing the support of Martin Gruenberg, then FDIC chairman and now a regular board member at the agency. Gruenberg, an Obama appointee, voted against the revised rule Tuesday morning, saying it would “effectively undo” the Volcker rule’s ban on proprietary trading. As amended, “the Volcker rule will no longer impose a meaningful constraint on speculative and proprietary trading by banks and bank-holding companies benefiting from the public safety net” of insured deposits, Gruenberg said.
What could go wrong?