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Dodd-Frank: 26,353 paper-pushers

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Fans and critics of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will surely be debating the massive federal law's pros and cons for decades to come.

Yet one consequence of the law isn't in dispute. That is, Dodd-Frank has created an enormous amount of work for government bank regulators and employees of financial services companies, including banks, investment brokerages and credit unions.

Altogether, the act will keep 26,353 people employed full time just to deal with the paperwork, according to the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying organization that represents 100 large banking, insurance and investment companies, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, State Farm and Fidelity Investments.

To calculate that total, the Roundtable divided the government-estimated total hours of paperwork required -- 52.7 million -- by 2,000, the annual average work hours of one full-time employee. A simple formula with a jaw-dropping result.

There's no question that the country needs more jobs. In July, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, or 12.8 million unemployed people, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau reported that 5 million of those folks, or 40 percent of the total, have been out of work more than 27 weeks.

The bureau also said an additional 8.2 million people were employed only part time not by choice, but because their work hours were cut or they couldn't find full-time employment, and another 2.5 million weren't in the workforce, but wanted to work and had job-hunted within the previous 12 months.

Altogether, those numbers added up to 23.5 million people who weren't as fully employed as they'd like to be.

Roundtable President Steve Bartlett suggested in a statement that "discussions about the economic burden of the Dodd-Frank Act must continue" and that there should be "more useful work for these employees.

"Already this work has imposed $7 billion in direct compliance costs, and we're only 30 percent done," Bartlett said. "Imagine the Verizon Center filled with employees prodding through this regulatory burden every year."

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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