Obama wants more financial reform

July 3, 2014: 1:54 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The ink is barely dry on the post-crisis financial reforms, but President Obama says more is needed.

He said big banks need additional restraints from making bets that leave taxpayers "holding the bag."

"That's going to require some further reforms. That's going to require us looking at additional steps that we can take," Obama said in an interview with the public radio program "Marketplace."

He suggested some would come from Washington and other changes require "restructuring the banks themselves -- how they work internally."

"We have to continue to see how can we re-balance the economy sensibly, so that we have a banking system that is doing what it is supposed to be doing to grow the real economy, but not a situation in which we continue to see a lot of these banks take big risks because the profit incentive and the bonus incentive is there for them," he said.

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Meanwhile on Wall Street, many big banks are making their own internal changes, shutting down the profitable but particularly risky speculative trading units.

And regulators have been slow to flesh out how the industry reforms Congress passed in 2010 will work. Just over half of the nearly 400 federal rules required under Dodd-Frank have been finalized, and nearly a quarter haven't even been proposed, a key early step in the rulemaking process, according to Davis Polk, a financial industry law firm.

But federal prosecutors have stepped up their tactics against misbehaving banks, settling charges with guilty pleas for the first time in decades. In May, Credit Suisse (CS) pleaded guilty to tax evasion-related charges, and this week, the French bank BNP Paribas (BNPQF) entered guilty pleas related to sanction violations and agreed to pay nearly $9 billion in penalties.

It seems unlikely additional financial industry reforms would move smoothly through divided Washington, and the majority of Obama's efforts on the economy have focused on wages and college costs. He has pledged what he calls a pen-and-phone approach to accomplish his priorities through executive orders and the bully pulpit.

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