Money Funds Test Geithner, Bernanke Resolve

Money-market mutual funds will test the resolve of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department to prevent another financial crisis after the $2.6 trillion industry successfully lobbied against more regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo has said the central bank could tighten rules on banks’ borrowing from money-market funds, and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren has said officials have the option to force banks to back their money funds with capital. The Fed and the Treasury could also work through the Financial Stability Oversight Council to seize oversight of money funds from the SEC and grant that power to the Fed.

“There’s real unanimity in the bank regulatory arena about the need to do something about money-market funds,” Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, said. “What the Fed can do, and I think will try to, is put the funds back in a much more limited corner, by isolating them from integration with the banking sector.”

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