* Dodd says bill will have consumer protection provision
* Lobbyists say draft legislation may be public by Monday (Adds Dodd, lobbyists’ comments, background, bylines)
By Kevin Drawbaugh and Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said on Wednesday he hoped to move a financial reform bill out of committee by early December adding it would contain a consumer protection provision.
“My hope is to be able to finish a mark-up of our bill sometime the end of this month, the early part of next month,” Dodd told reporters after a closed-door meeting with fellow Democratic committee members to discuss the issue.
He said the bill would have protections for consumers, but did not offer more specifics about its contents.
“If you get taken to the cleaners by a mortgage broker, where do you go? What door do you knock on? ... I can’t imagine us finishing up a bill here and completely disregarding the American consumer,” he said.
He declined to say if the bill would propose consolidating U.S. bank supervision into one agency, another initiative for which he has recently expressed strong support.
Dodd said he plans to unveil draft legislation next week aimed at tightening bank and capital market regulation.
The draft may be circulated among committee staff as early as Friday and available publicly by Monday, lobbyists said.
Dodd spokeswoman Kirstin Brost said on Tuesday that committee debate on the bill could begin during the week of Nov. 16. The lobbyists said a committee vote on it would likely wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
With the Obama administration’s financial regulation reform push making some headway in the House of Representatives, all eyes are turning to the Senate for signs of progress.
(For details on the administration’s reform proposals, double-click on [ID:nN28305454])
Dodd has been deeply involved in the healthcare reform debate, but his staff has been working on a bill. It is expected to mirror proposals unveiled by the administration and under debate in the House -- with some exceptions.
The administration and the House Financial Services Committee backed away months ago from the possibility of a dramatic centralization of bank supervision, a reform they considered too politically difficult to be achieved.
They are calling for closing the Office of Thrift Supervision, which polices savings and loans, but preserving the supervisory roles of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Dodd has said he wants to form a bank super-cop by merging the supervision duties of four agencies into one.
In addition, the Senate is still divided along party lines over the issue of systemic risk regulation. Similar division prevails in the House, but it matters less there because Democrats are in firm control and can pass bills.
Dodd does not enjoy that advantage in the closely divided Senate. He must have the support of some Republicans to steer financial reforms to passage.
Yet Senator Richard Shelby, the banking committee’s top Republican, opposes the administration’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency and wants more debate on derivatives regulation, systemic risk and bank supervision.
As a result, no matter what is in Dodd’s much-awaited bill, analysts are expecting a long debate ahead in the Senate.