Saturday, April 22, 2017

I Host the Financial Crisis Tour and the Wall Street Insider Tour on Monday's in NYC

book it now

Financial Crisis Tour : Learn the Secrets at the Heart of the Collapse

The economic collapse of 2008 was the most devastating shock suffered by the financial sector since the Great Depression. The effects of the recession were felt world-wide, yet the reasons behind it are still shaded in mystery. What mistakes lead to the collapse of some of the longest and most enduring financial institutions in America? And how can we avoid the same missteps in the future?

Wall Street Insider Tour: Explore the History of the American Economy

The streets surrounding Wall Street are some of the oldest in the city. They occupy a special significance in American history, as so much happened in just a few city blocks. From the first Dutch settlers to the high stakes action of the Stock Market, New York is a city built on commerce, and Wall Street is its heart.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

House GOP Moves to End "Bailout Nation" with the Financial CHOICE Act

No More Bank Bailouts, Accountability for Wall Street and Washington, Economic Growth at the Core of Republican Plan

April 20,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

WASHINGTON – Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) today announced that the Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Financial CHOICE Act on Wednesday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m.

“Republicans are eager to work with the President to end and replace the Dodd-Frank mistake with the Financial CHOICE Act because it holds Wall Street and Washington accountable, ends taxpayer-funded bank bailouts, and unleashes America’s economic potential,” said Chairman Hensarling. “We want economic opportunity for all, bailouts for none. We want real consumer protections that will give you more choices. Our solution grows the economy from Main Street up, creates more opportunities for working families to get ahead, and levels the playing field with no more Wall Street bailouts.”

CHOICE stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs.

The ideas and principles behind the Financial CHOICE Act were first unveiled last June by Chairman Hensarling in a speech to the Economic Club of New York. The Financial Services Committee approved the Financial CHOICE Act in September. The Committee will discuss an updated version of the bill at Wednesday’s hearing.

“Supporters of Dodd-Frank promised it would lift the economy, end bailouts and protect consumers. Yet Americans have suffered through the worst recovery in 70 years, Dodd-Frank guarantees future bailouts for Wall Street, and consumers are paying more and have fewer choices. Dodd-Frank failed to keep its promises to the American people, but we will work with President Trump to follow through on his promise to dismantle Dodd-Frank. That’s not what Wall Street wants, but it is what hardworking Americans need to have a healthier economy with more opportunities so they can achieve financial independence.”



No more bailouts: that’s at the core of our plan and our commitment to hardworking taxpayers. With bipartisan changes to our bankruptcy code, large financial firms can fail without disrupting the entire economy or forcing hardworking taxpayers to pay for more bailouts.


The Financial CHOICE Act includes the toughest penalties in history for those who commit financial fraud and insider trading. Holding Wall Street accountable with the toughest penalties in history will deter corporate wrongdoing and better protect consumers. At the same time we hold Wall Street accountable, the Financial CHOICE Act also holds Washington accountable. Tougher accountability for Wall Street and Washington will protect the integrity of our markets so they benefit ordinary Americans who are working, saving and investing.


Dodd-Frank’s one-size-fits-all regulations treat all financial institutions the same, regardless of their size. That makes no sense and hurts smaller, hometown banks and credit unions that did nothing to cause the last financial crisis.

The Financial CHOICE Act is based on two important principles: First, all banks need to be well-capitalized and, second, community banks and credit unions deserve relief from the crushing burden of over-regulation. Under the Financial CHOICE Act, banks and credit unions will qualify for regulatory relief if they elect to maintain enough capital to ensure that if they get in trouble, taxpayers won’t be forced to bail them out. Ninety-eight percent of the financial institutions that met the Financial CHOICE Act’s requirements for being well-capitalized did not fail during the financial crisis. Of the miniscule percentage that did fail, none posed a systemic risk.


The Financial CHOICE Act grows our economy from Main Street up. Dodd-Frank tries to control the economy from Washington down. The Financial CHOICE Act will help get credit and capital into the hands of working men and women to fuel their economic growth.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Former U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett Tapped to lead U.S. Export-Import Bank

April 15,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

President Donald Trump said Friday he would nominate former U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, who had supported closing the U.S. Export-Import Bank, to head the credit agency. Garrett's fight against the agency was well documented on this blog.

Mr. Garrett voted in both 2012 and in 2015 against renewing the charter of the Ex-Im Bank, which guarantees loans for companies that export U.S. products.

Garrett had worked closely with Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), the current chair of the House Financial Services Committee who steered the campaign to curtail the Ex-Im Bank. He helped engineer a five-month lapse in the agency’s charter in 2015, and the Ex-Im Bank hasn’t been able to approve financial for deals of more than $10 million for the last two years because Senate Republicans didn’t fill empty board seats, depriving the agency of a quorum.

Garrett’s nomination comes just days after Trump appeared to soften his stance on the bank and said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal he now supported the bank after having been critical of it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Confidence in the American Economy Booms Under Trump Administration

“We’re going to win economically; we’re going to win with the economy.” – Donald J. Trump

BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN THE AMERICAN ECONOMY: Since President Donald J. Trump’s election, economic indicators have responded with record confidence to his pro-growth agenda.

April 4,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, last week the National Association of Manufacturers released its Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey showing the highest level of optimism in 20 years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 12 percent since Election Day 2016. The Weekly Gallup Economic Confidence Index turned positive shortly after the President’s election and has remained positive for 19 consecutive weeks. The Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Index recently jumped 19 points, the largest jump since 2009. The National Association of Home Builders Confidence Index currently is at its highest level in 12 years. The Gallup Small Business Index reflects the most optimistic small business owners have been since July 2007. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index recently soared to its highest level in more than 16 years. The American Dream Index recently rebounded to 100.5, up from a 12-month low point in December, the final full month of the Obama administration.

EARLY PROGRESS: In just the first full month of President Trump’s Administration, the United States economy has already made promising strides in the job market.

In February, the President’s first full month in office, the U.S economy created 235,000 new jobs.

58,000 new construction jobs were created. 28,000 new manufacturing jobs were created.

In February, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent. In February, the U.S. labor force participation rose to 63 percent. In February, long-term unemployment in the U.S. fell by 49,000.

IMPLEMENTING JOB CREATING POLICIES: President Trump is executing an agenda that favors the American worker.

President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the White House Office of American Innovation, which will implement policies and scale proven private-sector models to spur job creation. President Trump ordered the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and negotiations. President Trump initially signed a Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and recently his Administration formally approved the project. President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access pipeline serves the national interest and is being prepared to be put into service. President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to help ensure that new pipeline construction and repair work uses materials and equipment from the United States.

CUTTING GOVERNMENT RED TAPE: President Trump has quickly taken steps to get the Government out of the way of job creation.

President Trump signed an Energy Independence Executive Order to help eliminate burdensome regulations on America’s energy industry. President Trump directed each agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to identify costly and unnecessary regulations in need of modification or repeal. President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated. President Trump directed the Department of Commerce to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers. President Trump signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 38, to prevent the burdensome “Stream Protection Rule” from causing further harm to the coal industry. President Trump ordered the review of the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States,” known as the WOTUS rule, to evaluate whether it is stifling economic growth or job creation.

PARTNER OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR: President Trump has worked hand-in-hand with the private sector to get companies re-investing in America.

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced a $20 billion investment in the United States, which will create more than 45,000 jobs. Charter Communications announced a $25 billion investment in the United States, and that it will hire 20,000 American workers in the next four years. Accenture announced the creation of 15,000 new high skilled jobs in the next four years and a $1.4 billion investment in training its own employees. Intel announced a $7 billion investment in a new factory in the United States, supporting over 10,000 jobs. Fiat Chrysler announced a $1 billion investment to modernize two plants in the United States, creating 2,000 jobs. General Motors announced plans to invest $1 billion in the United States, creating over 1,000 new jobs. Ford announced the cancelation of a plant in Mexico, while adding 700 jobs in Michigan.

FOLLOWING THROUGH FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: President Trump campaigned on jumpstarting the economic engine of America so businesses could grow and Americans could get back to work.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised “I am going to bring back the jobs that have been stripped away from you and your country.” As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised “we will make America the best place in the world to start a business; we’ll hire workers, and we’ll open factories.” As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised “we will also get rid of wasteful rules and regulations, which are destroying our job-creation capacity.”

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Manufacturers’ Optimism Hits 20-Year High in NAM Survey

As Manufacturers Meet President Trump to Talk Regulations, Taxes and Infrastructure, Industry Is More Confident in Improving Business Climate

by Jennifer Drogus
March 31, 2017

Washington, D.C., Fresh off the heels of the third straight month of manufacturing job growth, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today released the first Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey since President Donald Trump took office. The survey shows a dramatic shift in sentiment, with more than 93 percent of manufacturers feeling positive about their economic outlook. This is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history, up from 56.6 percent one year ago and 77.8 percent in December.

The NAM’s release of the survey coincided with a meeting of small and medium-sized manufacturers at the White House today.

“Across America, manufacturers’ optimism is soaring, in no small part because of President Trump’s laser-like focus on pursuing bold action, particularly on rethinking red tape to address regulatory reform, to accelerate a jobs surge in America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“As the survey shows, manufacturers of all sizes are now less concerned about the business climate going forward because they are counting on President Trump to deliver results. Small manufacturers—more than 90 percent of our membership—are among the hardest hit by regulatory obstacles. Regulatory costs for small manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees total almost $35,000 per employee per year—money that could otherwise go to creating jobs. It’s encouraging to see an administration so focused on providing regulatory relief to spur manufacturing growth.

“We are grateful for the chance to meet with the president today as we continue to tell the White House directly which regulations are still the biggest obstacles to a manufacturing surge. There is much work to be done, and manufacturers have the solutions on regulatory reform as well as on infrastructure investment, workforce development, bold comprehensive tax reform and a host of other issues.”

The survey shows not only a positive outlook but also that concerns about the business environment have dropped. When manufacturers were asked to identify top challenges to their business, concerns about the business environment fell to third place. This had previously been respondents’ top concern since the question was added to the survey in 2011.

For the past 20 years, the NAM has surveyed its membership of more than 14,000 large and small manufacturers to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns. The NAM releases these results to the public each quarter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dodd-Frank Consolidates More Power in the Hands of Fewer Banks

Subcommittee Examines Chilling Impact of Dodd-Frank on New Financial Institutions March 21,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

WASHINGTON DC, Members of the Financial Services Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee met on Tuesday to examine the chilling impact that the Dodd-Frank Act has had on the creation of new or “de novo” financial institutions.

“Today, we took the first step at looking into why there are so few new banks and the barriers to entry for would-be community financial institutions. The historical data paints a very clear picture of what has happened since the passage of Dodd-Frank. From 2010 to 2016, there were only a handful of new bank and credit union charters granted. In comparison, more than 1,300 new banks and 75 credit unions were chartered between 2000 and 2008.” said Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). “New financial institutions are a direct benefit to consumers and communities across the nation. The subcommittee will spend the next two years pursuing initiatives that promote financial choice and accessibility for all Americans.”

Key Takeaways from the Hearing:

The number of new, or “de novo,” bank and credit union charters has declined to historic lows since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Since Dodd-Frank became law, the big banks have gotten bigger while the small banks and credit unions have become fewer.

From 2010 to 2016, there were only five new bank and 16 new credit union charters granted. In comparison, between 2000 and 2008, 1,341 new banks and 75 new credit unions were chartered.

Topline Witness Quotes:

“Lack of de novos has its roots in excessive regulation…Some have argued that bank lending continues and therefore, there has been no impact of Dodd-Frank. Banks continue to lend even with the shackles that bind them. However, in the five years since Dodd-Frank was enacted, the pace of lending was half of what it was several years before the financial crisis. Some banks have stopped offering certain products altogether, such as mortgage and other consumer loans” – Ken Burgess, Chairman, First Capital Bank of Texas

“Unfortunately, new credit unions like The Finest FCU are not being created due not only to the hurdles posed by initial start-up time and costs, but also the daunting over-regulation facing the credit union once its charter is granted. Many smaller credit unions are saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to the overregulation of the industry. The compliance requirements in a post-Dodd-Frank environment have grown to a tipping point where it is nearly impossible for many smaller institutions to survive, much less start from scratch. Credit unions want to continue to aid in the economic recovery, but are being stymied by this overregulation. We need regulatory relief – both legislatively and from the regulators.” – Keith Stone, President and CEO of The Finest Federal Credit Union

“[T]hese added costs occasioned by Dodd Frank, Basel III and discretionary supervisory action significantly impaired existing financial institutions’ ability to provide financial services and products to consumers in the communities they serve. Many banks exited the mortgage loan business because of the complexity and uncertainty resulting from Dodd Frank, the CFPB and related rulemaking.” – Patrick Kennedy, Managing Partner, Kennedy Sutherland LLP, on behalf of the Subchapter S Bank Association

Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Jersey Native Nominated to take the Helm of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

March 16,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, President Donald Trump this week nominated New Jersey native J. Christopher Giancarlo to serve as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission .The commission regulates the derivatives market, a part of Wall Street that has been criticized for helping spur the financial crisis of 2008.

Giancarlo, who grew up in north Jersey and lives in Haworth in Bergen County, has served as a commissioner on the board since 2014 an acting commissioner since January.

Giancarlo was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Government Department Honors. Mr. Giancarlo received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law where he was an associate research editor at the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law and President of the Law School’s International Law Society. Mr. Giancarlo has been a member of the Bar of the State of New York since 1985

He was nominated by President Obama on August 1, 2013 and confirmed by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate on June 3, 2014. On June 16, 2014, he was sworn in as a CFTC Commissioner for a term expiring in April 2019. Mr. Giancarlo was designated per seriatim as Acting Chairman of the Commission on January 20, 2017.

Before entering public service, Mr. Giancarlo served as the Executive Vice President of GFI Group Inc., a financial services firm. Prior to joining GFI, Mr. Giancarlo was Executive Vice President and U.S. Legal Counsel of Fenics Software and was a corporate partner in the New York law firm of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner. Mr. Giancarlo joined Brown Raysman from Giancarlo & Gleiberman, a law practice founded by Mr. Giancarlo in 1992 following his return from several years in London with the international law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle.

Mr. Giancarlo was also a founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of eSecurities, Trading and Regulation on the Internet (Leader Publications). In addition, Mr. Giancarlo has testified three times before Congress regarding the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, and has written and spoken extensively on public policy, legal and other matters involving technology and the financial markets.

Fresh on the heels of being nominated by the White House Tuesday to be Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, J. Christopher Giancarlo spelled out plans to reorganize the agency and “right-size” its regulatory footprint.

“The overly prescriptive regulation of American derivative markets is a part and parcel of the over-regulation of the US economy that thwarts revival of American prosperity,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the International Futures Industry conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Wednesday.

To carry out one of President Donald Trump’s executive orders of regulatory reform, Giancarlo announced the launch of an agency-wide review of CFTC regulations and practices “to make them simpler, less burdensome and less costly,” and said the CFTC will seek public comment on that effort.

The regulatory reform initiative, dubbed Project KISS for “Keep It Simple Stupid” will be led by Mike Gill, Giancarlo’s chief of staff, who will serve as the “regulatory reform officer.”