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Financial reform bill firming up

Financial reform bill firming up
Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, chairs as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the House Financial Services Committee regarding reforming the financial regulatory system on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 24, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- Two of the more contentious provisions of the financial reform bill under debate in Washington appear to have congressional support, lawmakers said.

As the joint House and Senate committee works on merging 3,000 pages of legislation, The New York Times reported Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said lawmakers have reached a "conceptual agreement," on the provision to ban banks from using their own money in risky trades.

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The Washington Post said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he supported the latest version of derivatives trading restrictions.

The latest version would not force banks to spin off their swap desks, but would cordon off the derivatives operations by giving big banks two years to form affiliates to handle the derivatives bets, which are private contracts that hedge against future price changes in various securities.

Frank is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, while Dodd leads the Senate Banking Committee.

The Times said bank lobbyists have all but given up on influencing the ban on proprietary trading, the so-called Volcker rule, named after Paul Volcker, the former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve who has lobbied for the provision.

Banks have vowed to continue to fight the derivatives provision, however, the Times said.

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