Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Ben Somberg, Press Officer (regulatory matters)
w. (202) 588-7742
bsomberg@citizen.org, Twitter

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Dec. 10, 2013

Volcker Rule Is a Step Toward a Safer Financial System

Citizen Input Helped Strengthen Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After months of unnecessary delay, financial regulators today voted to finalize the Volcker rule, a key provision required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Public Citizen commends them for completing the rule.

The Volcker rule bars banks from engaging in proprietary trading – speculative trading purely for their own benefit instead of on behalf of their customers. Proprietary trading is often high-risk and can result in large losses, which in turn can expose banks to material financial distress.

“Public Citizen’s members and supporters have sent more than 15,000 of the approximately 18,000 total comments that regulators have received. They should be pleased that the final rule is considerably stronger than what regulators initially proposed,” said Micah Hauptman, financial policy counsel for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “We consider that a victory for citizen input.”

While there are many positive aspects of the final rule – and Public Citizen believes it is a step forward toward a safer financial system – there still could be too many opportunities for banks to disguise as permitted activity what should be deemed prohibited propriety trading. And while a reasonable phase-in period for compliance is needed, delaying implementation to July 2015 is excessive.

The centerpiece of the rule appears to be its compliance framework. Accordingly, there are many opportunities for vigorous implementation, oversight and enforcement of the rule, and Public Citizen urges regulators to seize those opportunities.

“However, if regulators don’t in practice deploy this Volcker rule to change the casino culture on Wall Street and protect American taxpayers, then Congress should stand alert. The strongest protection for consumers, taxpayers and the financial system will come with the passage of the complete separation of commercial and investment banking through the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act,” said Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Public Citizen has issued the following reports on the Volcker rule:

- Business as Usual: 99.9 Percent of Banks Would Not Be Affected by Volcker Rule

- Industry’s Messengers: Congressional Recipients of Contributions from the Financial Services Sector Swamp Agencies with Requests to Weaken the Volcker Rule

###

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.