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Braking the banks

When President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and consumer protection act almost two years ago, many thought the battle over stricter banking rules was over. Turns out, it was just the start.

In the wake of the recent JP Morgan losses and current LIBOR scandal, the fight over banking regulations continues to rage in Washington as an alphabet soup of federal agencies write the complex regulations to put the Dodd-Frank law in motion.

On the front-lines of this effort is Better Markets, a relatively new advocacy group pushing to ensure new regulations are as strong as possible. Better Markets President and CEO Dennis Kelleher says that if Wall Street’s current practices are not reigned in, the next financial crisis could be right around the corner — and could be much worse.

Kelleher, a lawyer with more than a decade of experience working for Democrats on Capitol Hill, says Better Markets is one of the only groups in Washington advocating for stronger controls. And while the banking industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on lobbying and campaign contributions, Better Markets’ annual budget is around $3 million.

The Better Markets budget comes from Mike Masters, a hedge fund manager in Atlanta. After testifying in Washington in 2008, Masters says he found the conversation was almost entirely about deregulation of the banks. He felt so strongly that the other side needed to be represented that he recruited Kelleher and launched Better Markets in 2010.

Watch our report and sound off below.