Bipartisan bank-relief bill wins approval from Senate panel

A key U.S. Senate panel has cleared a bill that could bring financial firms a significant chunk of the regulatory relief they’ve sought since the Dodd-Frank Act became law in 2010.

Bipartisan legislation advanced Tuesday by the Senate Banking Committee would revise many parts of the sweeping 2010 overhaul, particularly those pertaining to small and regional banks. It would free midsize lenders from some of the strictest post-crisis oversight and cut compliance costs for community banks. It also includes some tweaks that Wall Street has sought, including a change to how banks classify municipal bonds.

The bill sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo, the Idaho Republican who leads the banking panel, has backing from several Democrats. That support from across the aisle means the proposal represents the financial industry’s best hope in years of dialing back rules that it blames for inhibiting lending and needlessly increasing the cost of doing business.

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