Meet the Law That’s Been Quietly Protecting You and Strengthening Our Economy for the Past 5 Years:

“Dodd-Frank” is shorthand for the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whose chief co-sponsors on Capitol Hill were Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Barney Frank. These reforms — that the President signed into law exactly five years ago today — and others the Administration has put in place since the crisis represent the most sweeping set of financial reforms since the Great Depression.

Why does it matter and why should you care? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

(And if you just want a quick breakdown of the numbers behind five years of Wall Street reform, take a look here.)

1. Remember the CFPB? Wall Street reform created it.

“CFPB” stands for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: an independent watchdog responsible for writing and enforcing rules to protect you as you borrow and save. And Wall Street reform made it happen.

Here's why that's a big deal:

You’d be surprised at exactly what lenders were able to get away with during the housing bubble — including loading up a mortgage with extra costs to jack up their own compensation in the short term before shuffling that loan over to a third party, making it their problem. With these bad incentives, lenders steered borrowers toward bad products they couldn’t afford (even when they qualified for better, lower-cost options), often burying the terms of made-to-explode mortgages in the fine print.

Dodd-Frank fixed that. Today, lenders have to assess borrowers’ ability to pay a mortgage first. They have to take responsibility for the risks of the loans they make, giving them “skin in the game” to encourage responsible lending. And they will have to present them to the borrowers in clearer, easier-to-understand terms. And the CFPB is keeping all kinds of consumer lenders honest — from credit card companies, to mortgage lenders, to debt collectors, to student loan servicers. Since 2011, the CFPB’s enforcement actions have delivered nearly $11 billion in relief to more than 26 million consumers harmed by illegal practices -- including a new action announced today.

(Those practices include deceptive marketing, unfair billing, and discriminatory practices by big banks and other financial institutions — and a whole lot more. Learn more about them here.)

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West Wing Week: 07/17/15 or, “Barack-amole”

This week, the President secured a historic nuclear deal with Iran, traveled to Oklahoma to highlight the administration's work on criminal justice reform and the ConnectHome Initiative, designated three national monuments, spoke at the White House Conference on Aging and dropped by the Kids' "State Dinner."

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West Wing Week: 05/29/15 or, “High Fives For Everybody!”

This week, the President donned a yarmulke at Adas Israel Congregation, where he also sang and danced with some preschoolers; marked the first Memorial Day since our war in Afghanistan came to an end; hosted the NATO Secretary-General in the Oval Office; and answered your questions on climate change during a Twitter Q&A in Miami. That's May 22 to May 28th or, “High Fives for Everybody!”

 

Friday

  • The President greeted rabbis at Adas Israel, one of Washington’s oldest synagogues, to mark Jewish American Heritage Month – and made an impromptu visit to a preschool classroom.
  • The President hosted foreign diplomats for an annual reception in the East Room.

Monday

  • On Memorial Day, the President joined 5,000 people at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and reflect on the day with the families of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Tuesday

  • Reporters from all over the world joined the President and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office, following their bilateral meeting.
  • The President teamed up with the Vice President to surprise Vivian Bailey on her White House tour.

Wednesday

  • The EPA announced its finalized Clean Water Rule, after reviewing over a million public comments. The Rule will protect safe and clean drinking water for millions of American families.

Thursday

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What Top Officials Charged with Keeping Our Nation Safe Are Saying About the TPP

It is certainly true that America’s trade policy plays a large role in the resurgence and strength of our economy – but that’s not the only role it fills. Our trade policy also sits at the core of our strategy to keep America and our allies safe in the 21st century. 

So here's the question: How can the President's progressive trade deal -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- help safeguard our future?

Tour of @Boeing factory was particularly special for me -- my Dad was a pilot/flying has been in my family for years pic.twitter.com/U7QmoGlnLz

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) May 19, 2015

Speaking today at Boeing Headquarters in Seattle, WA, America's top diplomat -- Secretary of State John Kerry -- offered this answer

"It is no secret that the world in the future looks pretty complicated right now. The turbulence that we see comes from a combination of factors, including the fact that even as the world grows closer, there are powerful forces pulling people apart – terrorism, extreme nationalism, conflicts over resources, a huge number of people coming of age in parts of the world where there simply aren’t enough jobs. This creates a race between opportunity and frustration that we can’t afford to lose.

Expanded trade can help us win that race by spurring innovation and – and as we’ve seen in Asia and elsewhere – helping hundreds of millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. And poverty, my friends, is where you see much of this violent extremism born.

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What We Are Reading

Key Reads   Iran’s powerful Guard rejects inspection of military sites The Washington Post International nuclear inspectors will be barred from all Iranian military sites under any deal with world powers, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard Corps said Sunday, setting up a potential standoff as negotiators try to reach a final agreement on […]

The post What We Are Reading appeared first on American Security Project.

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West Wing Week: 04/10/15 or, “A Good Deal”

This week, the President made an important announcement about preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, traveled west to champion high tech jobs in Louisville -- and clean energy jobs in Salt Lake City, had some fun at the 137th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and flew to Jamaica for a meeting with leaders of Caribbean nations. That's April 2nd to April 9th or "A Good Deal."

 

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Third Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2014

Overall, today’s GDP report is consistent with a wide range of indicators showing continued labor market strengthening and improvement in household and corporate balance sheets. This estimate of fourth-quarter GDP affirms the robust underlying growth of the largest and most stable components of economic output, while the same volatile factors that increased growth in the third quarter subtracted from it in the fourth. Indeed, the sum of private consumption and fixed investment rose at the fastest pace in four years, despite the lower rate of overall growth. Personal consumption expenditures, which account for more than two thirds of output, grew 4.4 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter—the fastest single quarter since 2006. Despite the solid trend, the economy faces headwinds from weak growth abroad—as well as the lingering effects of winter weather—that economists generally expect to reduce GDP growth temporarily in the first quarter of 2015. There is more work to do to ensure that the recovery’s strong underlying trend is sustained and shared across a broad range of households. The President’s FY2016 Budget lays out a strategy to strengthen our middle class and help America's hard-working families get ahead.

FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.2 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report reflects especially fast growth in personal consumption expenditures (revised further upward in the final release) and continued strong increases in residential and business fixed investment. At the same time, the large third-quarter increases in Federal defense spending and net exports retreated somewhat in the fourth quarter. Despite the recent volatility of such transitory components—and though headwinds from abroad and winter weather may slow growth in the first quarter of 2015—the solid underlying trend of strong consumption and investment growth persists (see point 5).

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This Starts Today:

This morning, Senior Advisor Brian Deese sent the following message to the White House email list, detailing some of the steps the President will take over the coming weeks to help working- and middle-class families across America.

In the President's State of the Union address, he laid out his vision for Middle-Class Economics -- the theory that we can continue the progress we have made by promoting policies that build the economy from the middle out. In the run-up to the State of the Union and since, he has outlined specific proposals to achieve that goal -- in housing, jobs, education, to name a few.

The President's emphasis on Middle-Class Economics has begun to work -- delivering concrete benefits to families across the country and driving the policy debate in Washington as well. Over the next several weeks, the President will keep his foot on the gas by bringing forward new, concrete actions to strengthen the economic standing of working- and middle-class families.

This starts today, with the President announcing a new executive action to help more hardworking Americans save for retirement by cracking down on hidden fees that hurt consumers and back-door payments that help Wall Street brokers. Speaking at the AARP, the President will be joined by champions of consumer rights issues, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to announce this new move.

And that's just the beginning. Over the next several weeks, the President will announce new steps to protect consumers, make college more affordable, and help boost the wages of working and middle-class families trying to make ends meet.

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