Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, April 16, 2010

What is a financial institution?

Senator Bob Corker had a good exchange with Ezra Klein on the financial reform bill this week. Basically he is uncomfortable with all the hyperbole his fellow Republithugs are throwing around trying to kill the financial reform bill. Corker says that the issue here is not philosophical disputes between the two parties, but technical changes to make sure the language of the law accords with its intent. Sounds very reasonable.

But then he says:
The way the language is written right now, the resolution process could be used on an auto company. We want this clearly, solely to apply to financial institutions. That's just one example of a definition type of thing that has to be dealt with.

Here's the problem -- auto companies are financial institutions. Many companies, from Nordstrom to Sears to General Motors, have bank and thrift charters or hybrid Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured industrial loan companies (ILCS). Walmart is currently aggressively working to become a financial institution. I don't want to add to Walmart's bottom line but I also don't want them offering financial services without oversight and the only way to exercise oversight is through regulation and the threat of our ability to revoke their charter.

So what is he talking about? I'm going to be very interested to see how Senator Corker threads this needle.



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