Frank: New financial regulations could be signed by late May

BOSTON (Reuters) - Sweeping financial reform is likely to be passed by the Senate this month and signed by President Barack Obama by the end of May, senior Democratic Representative Barney Frank said on Thursday.

“I think it will be passed in the Senate in April,” Frank, chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, told a Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“I believe the president will be signing a financial reform bill before Memorial Day.”

The House has already approved its version of the financial reform bill. Once the Senate bill is passed, the House and Senate would go to conference to reconcile their bills.

Frank’s suggestion of a late-May completion is more aggressive than the timetable laid out by the White House this week, which suggested a bill could be signed by early August.

Financial reform will most likely not face extremely deep divisions in the Senate, unlike the recent health reform bill, which was passed without a single Republican vote, Frank said.

“This isn’t health care,” he said, calling the proposed reforms “sensible market-oriented regulation.”

Reporting by Ros Krasny, editing by Alan Elsner