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Main Street, Consumers One Step Closer To An Accountable Wall Street

New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Must Consider Small Business Impact Of New Regulations

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2010 - The effort to ensure a safer, more consumer-friendly Wall Street moved one step closer to success with the passage Thursday night of the Restoring American Financial Security Act in the Senate. Details of the final bill will now be reconciled between the House (H.R. 4173) and Senate (S. 3217), but the essence remains the same: create a consumer watchdog to protect against hazardous financial situations, regulate banks more closely and streamline massive institutions before they have a chance to fail.

"The self-employed and micro-businesses were hit particularly hard during the financial crisis and are still reeling from its effects," commented Kristie Arslan, executive director (legislative offices), in a recent NASE Staff Blog post. "Much of their personal finances are tied up with their business finances. Their reliance on credit cards, lines of credit and home equity loans to help with the daily operating costs of their business left the self-employed especially vulnerable to unpleasant industry practices."

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), and other small business organizations, worked collectively to ensure that small business and the self-employed had a voice in this process. Due to the leadership of Senators Snowe (R-ME), Pryor (D-AR), Graham (R-SC), Menendez (D-NJ), Franken (D-MN), Shaheen (D-NH), Bond (R-MO) and Burris (D-IL), the Small Business Fairness and Regulatory Transparency Amendment (S. Amdt. 3883) was included in the final bill. 

This provision ensures that the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will take a special look at rules which may impose significant costs on small business. It will also require the agency to prioritize minimizing the burden on small business during the drafting of new rules and regulations while also preserving consumer protections.  

The self-employed and micro-business (those with fewer than 10 employees) have been vocal in the past three years about the actions of government, the financial services industry and consumers which led to the collapse of the economy. The NASE has consistently heard from members that, while oversight and accountability are essential to a healthy economy, increasing federal bureaucracy can increase the cost of doing business and impact small business access to credit. Micro-businesses strongly supported a balanced approach to regulating the financial service sector.

"The passage of the Restoring American Financial Security Act, with the inclusion of the Small Business Fairness and Regulatory Transparency Amendment, will help create a climate of accountability for Wall Street and ensure that small business consumers receive the protections they need while also protecting them from overly burdensome regulations," remarked Kristie Arslan. "As Congress takes the final step towards financial reform, we urge legislators to keep these small business safeguards in the final bill."

To read additional commentary on small business policy, visit the NASE Staff Blog.

About the NASE
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy.  The NASE is a 501(c) (6) non-profit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States.  For more information, visit the association's web site at www.nase.org

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