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President Obama signs Wall Street Reform Bill

July 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Obama signed into law a reform of financial regulations that aims to protect consumers and ensure economic stability.The law, pushed through mainly by Democrats in Washington's deeply partisan environment, comes almost two years after the infamous near financial meltdown in 2008 in the United States that was felt around the globe.

The financial overhaul calls for more consumer protections and restrictions on banks.

Obama calls the legislation the toughest financial reforms since the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Opponents of the bill call it over-regulation, but the president says the new market rules are to prevent another financial catastrophe.

The law will place shadow financial markets that previously escaped the oversight of regulators under new scrutiny, and it will give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy.

Following the sub-prime mortgage mess, Obama is also spotlighting protection for consumers. He said he'll nominate a consumer watchdog to look out for the people, not for big banks.

Obama described them all as commonsense reforms that will help people in their daily life - signing contracts, understanding fees, understanding risks.

Obama says it will be a two-way street for borrowers. They'll be protected from hidden fees and abusive terms, but will have to prove that they're able to repay their loans.

The Senate last week gave final approval to the legislation, and with Republicans poised for big gains in the November congressional elections, Democrats are hoping to prove to voters that they have tamed an industry that dragged the economy into its deepest recession in 70 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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