Democratic presidential hopeful Bloomberg calls for tighter financial industry regulations


NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday proposed a raft of new regulations aimed at Wall Street, including a financial transactions tax of 0.1% and strengthening consumer protections.

The campaign said he would toughen stress tests for the largest financial institutions, merge the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bolster the “Volcker Rule” ban on proprietary trading, which it said has been undermined by the Trump administration.

The sweeping plan, which shares some similarities with proposals backed by liberals like rival Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, is the latest evidence of how far left the Democratic Party has moved on issues such as financial regulation. As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was once skeptical of Democrat-backed banking rules that were passed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Bloomberg has previously proposed major tax hikes on the wealthy, including a higher capital gains rate and a new 5% surtax on annual incomes that exceed $5 million.

Bloomberg’s newest proposal would also address the student loan crisis by automatically enrolling undergraduate students in income-based repayment plans, installing caps on debt payments and making it easier to discharge student debt via bankruptcy.

The plan calls for restoring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rules curbing payday lending and restricting financial companies from imposing mandatory arbitration on consumers.

In addition, he would impose new limits on debt collection agencies and bank overdraft fees.

Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci