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Congress Takes Up Overhaul of U.S. Banking Laws

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Congress is expected to vote this week on whether to overhaul the nation’s banking laws, which have been in place since the Depression. Supporters of the revisions note the amount of choice that would be provided to the consumer: for the first time, insurance companies, brokerage houses, banks and credit card companies would be allowed to merge under one roof, providing the customer with one-stop shopping for their financial services needs.

However, critics say that if it passes, the legislation would allow these companies to share all of the private information they have compiled on customers, creating a serious concern about privacy and unchecked corporate advantage.

The Clinton administration has pushed for this overhaul, aided by Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who was a big proponent of the new measures before he resigned his post in May of this year. And just yesterday, Rubin announced that he was taking a top position at Citigroup, the nation’s largest financial services company. Although he supported the legislation, Rubin said that this had nothing to do with his decision to take a job at what has become the first true American financial conglomerate since the Depression.

Guest:

  • Ralph Nader, consumer advocate.

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