“We need to build a new financial system that is more sustainable not only for financial institutions, but more importantly, for consumers, businesses and communities,” Seidman writes. “Maine’s community banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions are showing the way. Our nation’s policymakers can learn from them.”
Seidman calls for swift action to protect consumers from abusive practices, better regulate big banks and prevent risks that undermine the financial system.
“The proliferation of over-priced, poorly-structured, badly-underwritten mortgages, as well as a general willingness to allow consumers and some businesses to overextend themselves with credit, played a significant role in the current economic crisis,” Seidman adds. “We need a separate financial services regulator dedicated to both protecting consumers and helping all parts of the industry to develop better products, better consumer understanding of those products, and better disclosure.”
The publication is based on remarks Seidman delivered at the Coastal Enterprises, Inc. Annual Meeting on February 23rd in Freeport. In addition to her affiliation with ShoreBank Corporation and the New America Foundation, Seidman served on the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton, worked at Fannie Mae and managed regulation of the savings and loan industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College, a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and an MBA in finance and investments from George Washington University.
“MECEP is honored to share Ellen Seidman’s insightful analysis and recommendations with Maine people,” said MECEP Executive Director Christopher “Kit” St. John. “As she points out, Maine financial institutions did a far better job of managing their portfolios and protecting their customers than their counterparts in other areas of the nation. Still, Mainers have suffered great losses due to imprudent lending practices elsewhere and the overall financial meltdown.” MECEP and partners have voiced support for Senator Chris Dodd’s financial reform bill and would urge Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to help pass it in the U.S. Senate.
MECEP is Maine’s leading non-profit research and policy development organization working toward “a prosperous, fair, and sustainable economy; vital communities; rich civic engagement; and a healthy environment.” “Banking Reform: Building a Financial System for the Future” is available online at MECEP’s website.