SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) The backlash against Wall Street came full circle on Thursday as the U.S. Senate approved sweeping new regulations of the financial industry.

The landmark reform bill also includes a wide range of new consumer protections.

Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier said the bill will protect consumers from shady mortgages and inscrutable credit card contracts, although the auto dealer lobby did manage to get car loans exempted from the new controls.

“It’s not perfect, but it is a giant step forward,” said Speier.

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Pedro Morillas with CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group, said the bill even regulates how fine that fine print can be.

“No more tiny fonts. You won’t need your lawyer present to make sure that you’re not getting yourself into any trouble,” said Morillas. “Hopefully, just language that an average consumer will be able to understand.”

Both of California’s U.S. Senators, Boxer and Feinstein, voted yes, but Boxer’s Republican opponent in the Senate race, Carly Fiorina said the bill does nothing to fix what went wrong at the agencies that were supposed to watch Wall Street.

“Let’s just create yet another government bureaucracy, yet another opportunity to hire more federal employees and yet another bill that California taxpayers are going to have to pay,” said Fiorina.

The financial reform bill will have a direct effect on consumers, covering everything from your mortgage to how you pay at the checkout counter.


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