It would appear my concerns about the Farm Credit System being impacted by the financial reform package under debate in the Senate were unwarranted. Like several other adept political players, they have score a carve-out.
Attorneys, insurers and real-estate agents aren't the only ones exempted from the bill's consumer-protection provisions. The Farm Credit System, a government-sponsored lender that directly competes with banks, is excluded, too. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those crackerjack institutions at the heart of the mortgage meltdown, are also exempt. Worse yet is that Wall Street is exempted from the reach of the proposed consumer-protection agency -- its regulation will remain with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which proved itself asleep at the switch during this last period of financial shenanigans. [More]Unless...Republicans have their say about GSE's
The Republican proposal deals with two things that the Democratic proposal does not touch. First, the Republicans take on the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — bailed out during the collapse of the housing bubble. Democratic staffers say that figuring out how to handle the GSEs and re-regulating the trillion-dollar market in government-backed mortgage finance requires its own bill. They have just started researching what they want to accomplish and how best to achieve it. Republicans, in fewer than 400 words, take the massive market on. They create a special regulator and indicate that no further taxpayer money should be at risk. [More, with a very helpful comparison of Rep/Dem versions]The R-version may also exclude FCS, but it will be curious if the advantages enjoyed by the GSE's remain as ample as they have been.
At the very least, the debate is now on, and lobbyists are scrambling for loopholes.