Bernanke to Testify on Dodd-Frank Next Week

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other top U.S. regulators will appear before the Senate Banking Committee next week to discuss the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the committee announced on Thursday.

Bernanke will be joined on Feb. 17 by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler and acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh.

The committee is billing the hearing as a six-month checkup on the law, which was enacted in July.

This is the second time this crew of regulators has appeared before the panel to discuss Dodd-Frank since its passage in July 2010, having first testified in September.

But next week regulators will be offering their views in a much different political environment.

The House of Representatives is now controlled by Republicans and while Democrats still control the Senate they lost seats in the November election.

House Republicans have stopped short of calling for Dodd-Frank's repeal but they have made clear they hope to influence its implementation through hearings and the budget process.

Next week the House Financial Services panel will start hearings on the law. It is tentatively scheduled to examine changes to the regulation of derivatives as well as a provision in the law that limits the amount of fees banks can charge merchants when a debit card is used.

With Republicans looking to poke holes in Dodd-Frank, the Senate hearing will provide key regulators the chance to defend their implementation of the law.

The CFTC in particular has been criticized for pushing out a flurry of rules in a disjointed manner, while still missing deadlines set out in Dodd-Frank.