Keep Commerce and Banking Separate (Sen. Wayne Allard)

Last week, I joined two of my fellow Senators on the members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio and Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakota, to unveil the bipartisan Industrial Bank Holding Company Act.

This legislation would restore the separation of banking and commerce by preventing additional commercial firms from acquiring or establishing industrial loan companies (ILCs).

Congress has made it clear a number of times that we do not support the mixture of banking and commerce. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill was adopted, the committee had a spirited debate regarding banking and commerce. In the end, we determined that banking and commerce should not mix, which we spelled out by closing the unitary thrift loophole. Since that time, Congress has continued to deliver a loud message on this point.

When the financial regulators proposed to allow banks to engage in real estate management and brokerage, hundreds of members of Congress joined in support of bills to prevent the mixture of banking and commerce via real estate. I have been proud to lead the effort in the Senate. This prohibition has been enacted by Congress in appropriations bills each year since that time.

I am pleased that we are moving to establish a firewall between commerce and banking, and I am hopeful that it will be quickly enacted.

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