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Will Trump Election Make American Banks Great Again?

By Toni Lapp

November 9 –  Now that the dust has settled in the wake of one of the most vitriolic presidential campaigns in modern history, bankers want to know what to expect from President-elect Donald Trump.

Bankers will certainly be interested in Trump’s appointments. Trump was vocal in his criticism of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, and during his campaign suggested that she responded to political pressure to keep interest rates low. Yellen’s term as Fed chair expires in February 2018; an economic adviser to Trump told the Wall Street Journal, “he’s not urging her to resign at all,” although he has signaled that he would not nominate Yellen to a second term.

On the stump, Trump had indicated he would be open to the GOP position to bring more scrutiny to the Federal Reserve. The Republican platform suggested “an annual audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities.”

Bankers, of course, are most interested in the politics of regulatory matters. Trump has repeatedly called for a moratorium on new regulations, save for the reincarnation of Glass-Steagall Act. Much will hinge on whether Trump can unite with Republican lawmakers after the honeymoon of his inauguration has worn off.

Trump’s website has a section devoted to “Regulations,” a document with his proposals laid out in fewer than 200 words. His first point: “Ask all Department heads to submit a list of every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs, and which does not improve public safety, and eliminate them.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but one could argue that banking regulations often result in added jobs (albeit at a cost to banks’ bottom lines).

But what are Trump’s specific policy plans? He has frequently wandered from ideals of conservatism, and he has not often expanded on his ideas beyond tweets and sound bytes. One clue as to his intentions comes from a 100-day plan outlining his goals that he released in a speech in late October. His top goal was to impose term limits on lawmakers, a proposition that is not high on the agendas of the powers that be in Congress.

His rhetoric on rolling back regulations was somewhat ambiguous; his 100-day plan calls fora requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.”

Which begs the question, what new regulations would be imposed, and what existing regulations would be rescinded?


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