Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters detailed her plans as head of the powerful House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, where she is expected to wield a fair amount of influence over the financial services industry.
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Waters took over as head of the committee in January, when Democrats assumed control of the U.S. House of Representatives following their 2018 midterm victory. The California Democrat has already laid out a number of items she hopes to tackle – including undoing some of the measures Republicans fought for under the last Congress.
On the committee, Waters will be joined by popular freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who announced she will be joining via Twitter on Tuesday, detailing her enthusiasm toward looking into the student loan crisis and examining for-profit prisons. Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has already made headlines for some of her more progressive ideas.
Under Waters’ stewardship, here are some of the main areas on Wall Street that could be targeted.
Waters has advocated for oversight of the country’s biggest banks, after Republicans worked to ease some of the restrictions put in place under the post-financial crisis regulations known as Dodd-Frank.
President Trump signed a bill in May, sponsored by congressional Republicans, to scale back the post-financial crisis rule, which included increasing the threshold, to $250 billion from $50 billion, for banks that are considered potentially “too big to fail” and simplifying capital requirements for banks with less than $10 billion in assets – weakening regulations on trading and lending.
However, increased benefits for the banking sector could soon come to a halt.
"Make no mistake, come January, in this committee, the days of this committee weakening regulations and putting our economy once again at risk of another financial crisis will come to an end," Waters said last year.
One bank that is specifically in her crosshairs is scandal-ridden Wells Fargo. The California Democrat has called for hearings on Wells Fargo – which has been mired by a number of scandals across most of its major businesses since it was revealed that its retail bank created perhaps millions of fraudulent accounts on behalf of consumers without their consent or knowledge. Waters even called for the “recidivist” megabank to be shut down entirely in a 2017 report.
In a statement to FOX Business, Wells Fargo said it is committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Congresswoman Waters.
International financial institutions
Waters has said she would look into connections between German banking giant Deutsche Bank and President Trump. Another California Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff – who will take over the House Intelligence Committee – has also suggested he might probe Deutsche Bank over its dealings with the president.
In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank said it remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations.
"Our recent record of cooperating with such investigations has been widely recognized by regulators. We intend to keep working in this spirit,” the company spokesperson said.
Credit reporting agencies
The experienced congresswoman has also taken aim at credit reporting agencies, in the wake of the massive Equifax hack that compromised the personal data of hundreds of millions of Americans.
More than a year after the hack Congress implemented a bill allowing Americans to freeze and unfreeze their credit for free. But many, including the 15-term House member, believe there is more to be done.
Under Waters’ stewardship, the committee is expected to hold another hearing on the issue in early 2019, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for Equifax said the company would continue to work constructively with lawmakers throughout the coming year.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) became a point of contention under the former Republican-dominated Congress, with many conservatives believing the agency needed stricter oversight.
President Trump and other Republicans argued that the CFPB – which was created through Dodd-Frank – wields too much power, having the only head of an agency that cannot be removed at will by the president.
Waters, however, is a supporter of the agency and its functions. It is suspected she might actually conduct an investigation into decisions made by the bureau under the temporary leadership of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.