Obama plan would cut number of US bank regulators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration plans to call for the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision to close as part of its overhaul of financial regulation, which would also include the elimination of the federal thrift charter for banks.

The plan would require large, interconnected firms to draft a “credible plan” for how they would be unwound if they ran into severe trouble, a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.

The official said the proposal would also call for the creation of a financial oversight council that would be led by the Treasury Department, and would make the Federal Reserve the consolidated supervisor of large financial holding companies.

The administration has been discussing how best to tighten bank and market regulation in response to the worst global financial crisis in generations. President Barack Obama will formally unveil the proposals on Wednesday.

The official said on the call that the proposal would ensure strong oversight of financial firms through higher capital standards and tougher scrutiny of their actions because of the risks they could pose to the financial system.

It would also require the registration of hedge funds and other pools of capital, would seek more regulation of money market mutual funds, and would require securitizers to keep 5 percent of risk in securitizations.

Further, the plan would require standardized, over-the counter derivatives to be centrally cleared and would establish an independent consumer financial safety agency, the official said.

Reporting by Karey Wutkowski, Kevin Drawbaugh and Corbett Daly; editing by Leslie Gevirtz