Year 2010: Reforms to financial industry approvedAmid fierce lobbying from the financial industry and consumer advocates, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is signed into law by Obama on July 21. The new law creates a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to police mortgages and other financial products. It also forms a new office to monitor risks to the financial system and streamlines oversight of the financial industry.Thanks to rising corporate profits, the stock market continues a rapid recovery throughout 2010, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a 52-week high of 11,519 on Dec. 15. In just over 22 months, the Dow rises 175 percent.Despite government stimulus and steady if unspectacular GDP growth, high unemployment persists, hovering between 9.5 percent and 9.9 percent throughout the year. More troubling still is the length of unemployment for many Americans. As of November 2010, more than 6.3 million are out of a job for 27 weeks or more, and the average length of unemployment is 33.8 weeks.Three years into the housing crisis, the flood of residential foreclosures shows little sign of abating. At the end of the third quarter 2010, a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association finds 4.39 percent of residential mortgages are in foreclosure and 9.13 percent of all home loans are in some form of delinquency.On Aug. 15, a new Federal Reserve rule goes into effect requiring banks to get consumers' permission before enrolling them in overdraft protection. In response, many banks begin imposing maintenance fees and balance requirements to recover lost revenue, reducing free checking options for consumers.-- Claes Bell
-- Claes Bell
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