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Paulson unveils financial overhaul plan
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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Monday unveiled the most wide-ranging plan to overhaul the US financial regulatory system since the Great Depression.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson walks off the stage after remarks at the Treasury Department in Washington March 31, 2008.

The current regulatory systems should work "more effectively to promote stable and resilient markets and a more competitive financial services industry," Paulson said in a speech outlining the Treasury's regulatory reform blueprint.

"Our first and most urgent priority is working through this capital market turmoil and housing downturn, and that will be our priority until this situation is resolved," Paulson said. "With a few exceptions, the recommendations in this blueprint should not and will not be implemented until after the present market difficulties are past."

The short-term recommendations include improvements to regulatory coordination and oversight that regulators can make quickly. The blueprint recommends creating a new federal commission for mortgage origination to protect consumers better. The report also recommends modernizing the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and clarifying the Federal Reserve's liquidity provisioning.

The Mortgage Origination Commission (MOC) "would evaluate, rate and report on each state's adequacy for licensing and regulation of participants in the mortgage origination process," Paulson said.

Mid-term recommendations focus on eliminating some of the duplication in U.S. existing regulatory system, but more importantly they offer ways to modernize the regulatory structure for certain financial services sectors, within the current framework. Recommendations include eliminating the thrift charter, creating an optional federal charter for insurance and unifying oversight for futures and securities.

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