Nothing in Debates on Consumer Law–or Banking: Sad!

by Jeff Sovern

Some reactions from Politico's Morning Money:

TOP EMAIL from Richard Hunt, President & CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association: “Four debates and no Wall Street or bank bashing. Didn't see that coming.”

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Cowen’s Jaret Seiberg: “Sec. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have now faced off in three presidential debates without a material discussion of banks or housing. This tells us that Congress will likely shape banking policy with either Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Jeb Hensarling taking lead depending on the winner.

“For housing, we see both candidates as a positive though Trump may be better for Fannie and Freddie. … To us, the most important takeaway from the three debates is that neither Clinton nor Trump have emphasized any policies for banks or for housing. It is just not at the top of their agendas. That means there is not an election mandate to address either issue.”

Personally, I'm skeptical about the mandate idea.  The new president will pursue his or her agenda, and the members of Congress will pursue theirs. I doubt many participants will change their behavior based on a perceived mandate–which is not to say that they won't claim a mandate to accomplish their goals.  But the candidates have voiced policies in the area, though not in the debates.  For example, Clinton has applauded the CFPB and its proposed arbitration rule, while Trump has criticized Dodd-Frank, though without being very specific about which parts of Dodd-Frank he would repeal.

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