BANKING: President plans new regulatory agency

Setting up a certain fight with big business, President Barack Obama is proposing a new regulatory agency to police lenders and protect consumers in credit, savings and other banking transactions.

The consumer agency and a newly empowered Federal Reserve will be two of the central elements of a broad overhaul of the financial regulatory system that the president will announce today, officials said.

Already the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve would supervise large financial institutions that are considered so big that their failure could undermine America’s economy, according to the administration proposal.

But even as the Fed gains new powers, Obama also would transfer some banking authority that now rests with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to the new consumer agency – the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

“The problem is right now you have consumers and investors, (and) the agencies that are responsible also have responsibility for the integrity of the institutions,” Obama said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “So you’ve got divided attention. We want to make sure we’ve got a consolidated focus on consumer and investor protections.”

The Associated Press