WASHINGTON, D.C. (TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama signed a historic financial reform bill into law Wednesday morning.
In what is widely considered the most sweeping regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 aims to create stricter rules for the way business is conducted by a roster of Wall Street players.
The Senate approved the legislation on Friday weeks after the House passage. The law includes the establishment of a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, whose mission will be to oversee consumer financial products offered by banks, mortgage companies, credit cards, debt-settlement firms, loan providers and payday lenders. It will have the authority to craft regulations, launch investigations and act on consumer complaints.
Bank of America said last week that the legislation could cost it billions in lost revenue each year, a pronouncement interpreted as an indicator that other banks with significant exposure to the U.S. consumer market, banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, will also face larger-than-expected costs as a result.
Obama emphasized the benefits of new consumer protection laws as the "strongest consumer financial protections in history."
"These protections will be enforced by a new consumer watchdog with just one job: looking out for people -- not big banks, not lenders, not investment houses -- in the financial system. Now, that's not just good for consumers, that's good for the economy," he said.
Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, said "today's signing of comprehensive financial reform into law is a major victory and joins a growing list of progress, dismantling the harmful legacy left by George W. Bush and the Republican Party."