Trump eases bank rules

New law raises threshold at which banks are subject to stricter oversight

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday signed into law a measure that loosens key restraints for banks imposed after the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. Savoring the legislative triumph, he called it “the next step in America’s unprecedented economic comeback.”

The Republican-crafted bill passed Congress on Tuesday with the help of some Democratic votes and allowed Trump to fulfill his campaign pledge of dismantling the landmark Dodd-Frank law. The 2010 law was enacted by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress in response to the crisis that brought millions of lost jobs and foreclosed homes and a taxpayer bailout of hundreds of billions for banks on Wall Street and beyond.

Trump held a signing ceremony at the White House not long after announcing the cancellation of his planned June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The new law raises the threshold at which banks are deemed so big and plugged into the financial grid that if one were to fail it would cause major havoc. Such banks are subject to stricter capital and planning requirements.

Trump is gaining a major building block in his drive for business-friendly policy changes and easing of regulations that he says have stifled lending, economic growth and job creation.

“As a candidate, I pledged that we would rescue these community banks from Dodd-Frank, the disaster of Dodd-Frank, and now we are keeping that commitment,” Trump said at the signing event in the Roosevelt Room.

The law makes a fivefold increase, to $250 billion, in the level of assets at which banks are deemed to pose a major threat if they fail. The change eases regulations and oversight on more than two dozen financial institutions, including BB&T Corp., SunTrust Banks, Fifth Third Bancorp and American Express.

It was aimed at especially helping small and medium-sized banks, including community banks and credit unions.

Critics say the likelihood of future taxpayer bailouts will be greater now that curbs have been eased.