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Maxine Waters, D-CA 43rd
Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
There are so many inaccuracies in some of the
testimony that I am hearing from the opposite side of the aisle that I don't know where to start to try to clear up some of the points that they are attempting to make.
First of all, let me start with this business about how community banks are going to be hurt. This is simply an attempt to hide behind community banks and scare the Members of this body into believing that if they don't support this bill, that somehow their community banks are going to suffer.
The FDIC said that 95 percent of CLOs owned by banks are owned by those with more than $50 billion in assets, with the preponderance owned by Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.
Specifically, JPMorgan Chase has $33.5 billion worth of CLOs; Wells Fargo has $24.1 billion worth of CLOs; and Citi has $4.7 billion worth of CLOs.
So what are we talking about when we use this kind of messaging to claim that somehow we are going to hurt these small banks? That is absolutely not true. And I want to tell you, the community banks have not been in the background putting out tremendous sums of money on this lobbying effort. According to The New York Times:
The current efforts to undermine Dodd-Frank have been textbook lobbying. In the first three quarters of last year, the securities and investment industry spent nearly $74 million on lobbying on 704 registered lobbyists.
So get this picture. We keep seeing attempts by any means necessary from the opposite side of the aisle to push controversial legislation into packaged bills, some of those bills having been supported either in committee or on the floor. It is not enough that they lost when they put this on the suspension calendar. They have come back with a rule that does not allow for any debate, and they are determined to win this by majority vote, even in the face of a veto. Who are they trying to protect?
If it is true that 95 percent of the CLOs owned by banks are owned by those with more than $50 billion in assets, and I told you who has a preponderance, then that is who is being protected. It is the biggest banks in America--Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. That is who is being protected. This money I am talking about, $74 million on lobbying 704 lobbyists, these are the big banks spending the money lobbying on this legislation.
And so this business about protecting Main Street, about protecting the small businesses, simply attempts to misguide and mislead, knowing that most folks really don't understand the CLO market, that this legislation, along with many other pieces of legislation, are complicated. Dodd-Frank is an attempt to reform what had gone terribly wrong in this country. We have seen attempt after attempt, probably more than 100 attempts in the Financial Services Committee, to try and undermine Dodd-Frank,
to get rid of Dodd-Frank, to break it up piece by piece, and again by any means necessary.
And so if you can answer why all these attempts, why all of this money is being spent, why we're protecting just these three big banks in America, then you can see that this is not about Main Street, this is not about small businesses. This is now about relationships between too many Members of this House and of this Congress with the biggest banks in America, who are determined to destroy Dodd-Frank. And they have tried all of these tactics and they have tried somehow to make people believe
that we don't care about this fire sale that we are going to cause the big banks.
Well, let me just say this. No, I don't worry about causing a fire sale of the big banks. I am not here to protect the big banks. I am truly here to protect Main Street and small business entrepreneurs and business people in this country.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk further about title VIII and how it does not benefit small businesses. CLOs comprised only of actual loans are exempt from the Volcker rule entirely. We are only talking about CLOs that contain other instruments like credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, commercial paper-backed securities, et cetera.
The Volcker rule will have a minimum impact on the CLO market. Nothing in the rule says that other buyers of CLOs need to stop their purchases. Nonbanks like hedge funds or insurance companies can continue to purchase or trade CLOs. The restriction only affects banks, big banks, which have tremendous access to taxpayer subsidies through the FDIC and the Federal Reserve borrowing window.
Various Wall Street research analysts have said that the market ``shrugged off'' the Volcker rule and that the industry can do just fine moving forward. In fact, 2014 saw record issuances for new, Volcker-compliant CLOs.
Banks will have 5 years, including 3 years worth of extensions, to comply with this provision. The Republicans now want to give them 7 years. Our position is this: enough is enough. Eventually the Volcker rule has to become operational or else Dodd-Frank becomes meaningless.
These CLOs are typically leverage loans. It should buy private equity firms to facilitate corporate buyouts of [Page: H349]
large companies. This is more about facilitating private equity than helping Main Street businesses.
For example, leverage buyouts are when a private equity firm pays for a controlling interest in a company by taking out a loan against that company, saddling the company with debt. The aim is to reduce costs, often by firing workers and slashing employee pay and benefits in order to quickly resell the leaner company for a profit. So this isn't about job creation; this is about job destruction.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.