Since the passage of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, a recent Sunlight Foundation analysis showed that federal regulators have had a massively disproportionate number of meetings with the nation’s biggest banks, in contrast to the number of meetings held with reform-oriented groups. Taken from three financial regulatory agency meeting logs, the report says:
Our analysis finds the top 20 banks and banking associations meeting with the Treasury, Fed and CFTC on average a combined 12.5 times per week for the last two years, for a total of 1,298 meetings – compared to 242 meetings (about 2.5 per week), with a wide range of reform groups.
Financial giants Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase alone had 181 and 175 meetings, respectively. The two banks combined for 356 meetings total, which is 114 more than all the reform groups put together.
The study notes that while these meetings do not necessarily prove influence on the regulators’ decision-making process, they do “highlight both the intensity and resources the big banks are devoting to rulemaking around Dodd-Frank.”
However, due to the complex nature of the material, these meetings can still be influential on the regulators:
To the extent that regulators are relying on bank representatives to understand the technical side of these rules, they are likely to see the world from the banks’ perspective. This is bound to have at least some impact on how the final rules turn out.