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Frank looks ahead to the next step

Boston Globe – US Representative Barney Frank yesterday staked out the next battlefront in the economic crisis gripping the world: more regulation of hedge funds, investment banks, and other financial institutions.

Frank, who heads the House Financial Services Committee, blamed a lack of strict oversight for the failures of Wall Street investment banks such as Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., as well as dozens of subprime mortgage companies. He said hedge fund investments in arcane securities based on those mortgages deepened the crisis, which has spread worldwide. In contrast, heavily regulated commercial banks escaped the crisis largely unscathed, Frank said.

"The cause of this problem was a lack of financial regulation in the industry," the Massachusetts Democrat said at a Newton City Hall press conference, one of two events he held in the Boston area yesterday. "If the regulated institutions had made loans, we would not be in the crisis we’re in."

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