Wall Street, Banks Press to Shape Dodd-Frank Rules

The Wall Street Journal’s Victoria McGrane reported that Wall Street and the financial industry spent more to lobby Washington in the first quarter of this year than a year ago when Congress was writing sweeping financial-overhaul legislation, according to a Wall Street Journal review of lobbying reports released Thursday.

The law, known as Dodd-Frank, was adopted nine months ago but banks, credit unions, investment firms and their trade groups now are trying to shape how it is put into practice. The documents show financial-industry lobbyists are spending time with regulators, who are writing hundreds of rules to carry out the law, while pushing Congress to roll-back certain provisions, especially new limits on debit-card fees.

The industry is working to influence a long list of Dodd-Frank rules, including sweeping ones for the nearly $583 trillion derivatives market and restrictions on the size and activities of the largest banks. Many are also weighing in on mortgage-finance issues as policy makers address problems with foreclosures and how to revamp mortgage-lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which now are under federal control.

The disclosures show that 26 of the financial firms and trade associations that spent the most in 2010 collectively spent $27 million in the three months ending March 31, a 2.7% increase from the $26.3 million spent in the comparable period in 2010.

The industry’s first-quarter lobbying tally is its second-highest ever, according to an analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. The 26 entities spent slightly more —$27.3 million—between April and June last year, when Dodd-Frank activity on Capitol Hill was most intense.

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