The Volcker rule aims to make banks focus on their core products and services rather than on racking up profits from exotic trading strategies and complex financial products known as derivatives. If successful, that effort could improve services for customers and lessen the risk of deposits being lost because of the volatile world of high finance.
Before the banking crisis came to the forefront in 2008, traders and investment bankers had focused too much on boosting profits and reaping fat annual bonuses as a result, rather than concentrating on core banking functions, consumer advocates say.
"What is the financial system's job? Is it to provide capital for business, homeownership and economic growth, or is it to generate extremely high bonuses for its senior employees?" says Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform in Washington, D.C. "We had moved to a world where the latter was too much the case."