Financial reform bill passes Senate, headed for reconciliation with House measure

Senate passes financial reform In what is being described as a significant political victory for the Obama administration, the Senate voted to pass an omnibus financial reform bill, but experts are divided over the way in which it will affect consumers looking to consolidate debt.

Senators Russ Feingold and Maria Cantwell, the only two Democrats to vote against the measure, said that it did not go far enough toward protecting the American consumer from predatory and unfair lending practices by the financial industry.

However, many in the financial industry disagreed, saying the Senate bill places unfair restrictions on banks and could limit the options available to consumers searching for debt consolidation loans and other financial instruments.

Beyond its effects on the consumer lending industry, the main thrust of the bill is aimed at limiting the amount of risk that large financial institutions are allowed to take on, with the idea of forestalling any crises similar to the widespread bank failures in 2007 and 2008 that severely damaged the American economy and cost taxpayers billions in bailouts.