ABA Banking Journal - August 2010 - (Page 42)
Dodd-Frank Act | Special Report
By Bill STreeTer, ediTor-in-chief, wiTh STeve cocheo, execuTive ediTor
ob Woodward was astounded that Ed Yingling hadn’t kept notes. “He came by to interview me and asked at one point if I’d like to check my notes,” recounts Yingling. “I said, ‘What notes?’” The Watergate reporter couldn’t believe ABA’s CEO wasn’t keeping notes about what happened during the financial crisis and its aftermath. “When you’re in the middle of it you don’t think much about that kind of legacy,” says Yingling, who announced in July that he will be retiring at the end of this year. If he ever wants to write a book about the momentous events of autumn 2008 to the signing into law of the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Yingling may wish he had kept notes. But right now, he doesn’t need them. He spoke with this magazine’s two senior editors for nearly two hours without glancing at a single note. ABA’s leader for the past five years, and chief lobbyist for 25 years, Yingling has lived and breathed the monumental battle for the future of the banking industry. He’s had plenty of company, including many other ABA staffers, the heads of the state bankers associations, and countless bankers. But Yingling was a pivotal player—a combination of chief strategist, field commander, and industry spokesperson. Yingling sat for the interview the day that President
42 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | august 2010
Obama signed into law “the most complicated bill ever enacted by Congress,” to use Yingling’s words. Having opposed the bill, the ABA was not invited to the ceremony—justifiably, in Yingling’s view. But as he has often stated, the association supported regulatory reform to address the causes of the crisis, but not the bill as it ultimately developed. He likens the events leading to the bill to a Category Five hurricane. What follows is a recounting by a major player of an epic struggle that will define the industry for decades. n n n Thinking back on the recent legislative battle, was the outcome better or worse than you expected? Yingling I would say that it was within the four corners of what we expected, but ended up toward the worse because of what happened at the end on the Senate floor. In this atmosphere and with this Congress we thought all along we would be facing a highly negative bill, so our first goal was to limit the damage. There were things we wanted to add to the bill and we did add some. And there were core things that we agreed should be enacted, like resolution authority and the Systemic Risk Council. But they were pretty much going to be enacted anyway. We expected a bill to pass the House, because House rules give the majority huge power, and our goal was to get as good a bill as we could and keep it clean. We had
photos by elia seba
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