Thursday, March 16, 2023

Barney Frank and Signature bank failure...when he claims low income housing investment is he talking about people who can't manage their money or something else

'I Need To Make Money' - Barney Frank Defends Signature Bank Board Role

Defending his role on the board of the failed Signature Bank, former New York Rep. Barney Frank has told Financial Times, “I need to make some money." 

The man whose namesake Dodd-Frank Act piled regulations on banks in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis says he's “chagrined" over Signature's closing, "because obviously people will say, ‘Oh, hey mister, you told everybody else how to run a bank and the bank you were helping run failed’.”

Frank served on Signature's board since 2015. He told FT that, having declined a congressional pension, he needed the income: 

“Having retired, not having a pension by my choice, not wanting to be a lobbyist for reasons personal, I need to make some money. I do it in part by writing. But I also do it by joining boards. Logically, I’m asked to join boards on subjects with which I was identified.”

The 82-year-old Frank made about $2.4 million on Signature's board, according to Wall Street Journal estimates. In 2012 -- near the end of his stay in Congress -- Open Secrets estimated Frank's net worth at slightly over $1 million. 

Frank told the New Yorker his other reason for joining Signature Bank was because it's been "the leading user of the low-income-housing tax credit in New York," which aligns with his policy interest in affordable housing. 

During his time on Capitol Hill, Frank condemned staffers who left to become financial services lobbyists -- then he joined Signature's board two years after leaving Congress.

Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project, rejects Frank's attempt to distinguish between being a lobbyist and a board member, telling FT:   

“Ordinary people don’t disdain lobbyists because of the narrow, legal definition of the term. It’s sophistry beneath Frank’s considerable intellect” [to argue he was doing] “anything other than lobbying within the commonly understood sense of the term.”

After joining Signature's board, Frank publicly argued that Dodd-Frank's $50 billion threshold for imposing tougher regulatory measures on banks was too low. They were raised in 2018, exempting Signature and other regional banks from those extra regulations. 

No comments: