Financial Stability Rearticulated: Institutional Reform, Post-Crisis Governance, and the New Regulatory Landscape in the United States
The recent financial crisis was a powerful reminder that the inherent instability of the monetary-financial system is likely to entail serious consequences for the real economy. In the U.S., the monumental Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”) has provided legislation that aims to institutionalise several aspects a new thinking on financial stability. In addition to the interagency Financial Stability Oversight Council (“FSOC”), the creation of the The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) marks an important departure from the U.S. regulatory tradition of de-centralized agencies whereby the institutional locus of financial oversight depended on the precise nature of the legal structure of and business activities pursued by individual financial intermediaries. In its mandate and institutional structure, the CFPB unifies both “micro-prudential” and “macro- prudential” principles of financial regulation to enhance overall financial stability. From an historical perspective, the creation of the CFPB does not change the regulatory landscape to the same extent as did the creation of the Federal Reserve after the Panic of 1907 or the creation of the FDIC after the 1933 Banking Crisis. At the same time, however, the CFPB represents an important historical shift in the policy focus of U.S. financial regulation away from bank stability bank to a broad notion of financial stability that recognises the increased financialisation of households’ welfare.