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A new consumer protection agency highlights a financial system overhaul President Barack Obama plans to unveil Wednesday in effort to avert future economic crises like the one still wreaking havoc at home and around the globe.
Obama's sweeping change of business regulation also embraces new powers for the Federal Reserve and new rules that would reach into currently unregulated regions of the financial markets. An 85-page draft details an effort to change a regime that Obama's economic team maintained had become too porous for the innovations and intricacies of the today's financial markets.
Under Obama's plan, the Fed would gain power to supervise holding companies and large financial institutions considered so big that their failure could undermine the nation's financial system. But even as it gains new powers, the Fed also would lose some banking authority to a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
Obama's proposal would require the Fed, which now can independently use emergency powers to bail out failing banks, to first obtain Treasury approval before extending credit to institutions in "unusual and exigent circumstances."