Trump Treasury Choice Steven Mnuchin Vows to ‘Strip Back’ Dodd-Frank

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Volcker Rule seen as ‘too complicated’ and difficult to interpret, nominee says.

Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary said Wednesday that he would focus on rolling back parts of the landmark 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law enacted in the wake of the financial crisis.

“The number one problem with Dodd-Frank is that it’s way too complicated and cuts back lending,” banker Steven Mnuchin told CNBC in his first public comments since being tapped by the president-elect to head his economic team.

“So we want to strip back parts of Dodd-Frank and that will be the number one priority on the regulatory side,” Mr. Mnuchin said, according to a rush transcript of the interview.

Mr. Mnuchin’s comments are consistent with those made by Mr. Trump and other advisers. But they are significant since he himself has said little on publicly about policy matters, and his Wednesday remarks offer a fresh window into his thinking and priorities.

Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, discussed the Volcker Rule provision in the law—named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—which is aimed at trying to stop banks from betting with deposit-insured funds. Goldman and other Wall Street firms have complained that the rule is too opaque and complex.

“The number one problem with the Volcker rule is it’s way too complicated and people don’t know how to interpret it,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “So we’re going to look at what do with it, as we are with all of Dodd-Frank.”

In the interview, Mr. Mnuchin alluded to his crisis-era foray into the banking industry, when he was part of a group that bought the failed IndyMac Bank from the government. He became chairman of the renamed OneWest Bank in Los Angeles, which eventually was sold to CIT Group Inc. He currently sits on CIT’s board.

“We’ve been in the business of regional banking and we understand what it is to make loans,” he said. “That’s the engine of growth to small- and medium-size businesses.”

Regional banks in particular have been lobbying for relief from Dodd-Frank.

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