On Monday, I held a field hearing on financial regulation and reform entitled “Bringing Accountability and Transparency to Wall Street.” As the Senate continues to debate the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217), I wanted to make sure I heard from people and small businesses that have been directly impacted by the financial crisis as well as experts in the field of economics and finance.
The hearing was held at the Creese Student Center on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the hearing I was able to gather valuable information from six witnesses: Steven Kaplan, who is the Secretary of Banking for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Skip Voluntad, who is the owner of Asian Pacific Management and Consulting Company and also serves on the Executive Council of the Association of the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP); Dr. Michael Gombola and Dr. Jie Cai, Drexel Lebow College of Business Finance Department Head and Professor, respectively; Tracy Levesque, the co-owner of YIKES, Inc. a Web design, development and ecommerce small business; Jim Sysko, a Professor of Business Administration and Business Ethicist Scholar at the McGowan School of Business, King’s College.
Each of the six witnesses was able to provide a unique perspective on a variety of topics that included how the financial crisis has affected credit availability for small businesses, the impact of deregulation in Pennsylvania and the relationship between executive pay and company performance, among others. Listening to these testimonies reinforced what I have seen travelling across Pennsylvania and in reviewing job loss and foreclosure numbers, and that is the need to pass strong reform for our financial markets and mega banks.
It is clear that American families and small business were pushed to the side by Wall Street mega banks as they consolidated their power simply to gain wealth for themselves and their stockholders. For this reason, I look forward to making sure that reform to improve accountability, resiliency and transparency in the financial system is passed in the Senate.