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Frank Sets Out Ambitious Committee Agenda

Updated: 2:17 p.m.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is laying out a robust financial reform agenda for the rest of the month.

Frank announced Thursday that the committee is on track to finish its work on mortgage reform, anti-predatory lending and credit card legislation in the coming weeks. Hearings in March will focus on regulatory restructuring and the role of law enforcement in the current financial crisis, curtailing abusive mortgage lending practices, and reforming harmful credit card practices.

“While we will continue to work with the Obama Administration on stabilization, it is now essential that we continue work on our reform agenda,— Frank said in a statement.

Specifically, the committee’s work will include regulatory restructuring hearings on March 17, March 20, March 24 and March 26, as well as a hearing on March 20 to see if law enforcement agencies have the necessary tools to pursue financial institutions that commit fraud or abuse.

The panel also plans to take up legislation to reform the mortgage origination process and ban predatory lending and legislation to protect consumers against abusive credit card and overdraft protection practices.

Frank suggested the political environment for another financial systeminfusion has become more difficult because the public feels that the peoplewho got us into this mess are being rewarded. “At this point, it’s not clearthe political support would be there to do it,— he said.

But Frank said odds for another bailout package would improve with passageof regulatory reform, particularly reforms that protect consumers fromabuses on their credit cards and other issues. Frank also said thatpunishing those who committed wrongdoing, both criminally and civilly, wouldhelp as well.

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