On July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into federal law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Better known as the Dodd Frank Act, the law was enacted in response to the financial meltdown that occurred in 2007-2008.
The financial crisis of 2007–2008, also known as the Global Financial Crisis and 2008 financial Crisis, is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression which began with the stock market crash in 1929. This was a worldwide crisis that continued until the late 1930’s for most countries and as late as the mid 1940’s for others.
October 29, 1929, which later became known as Black Tuesday, began a period when personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped precipitously. International trade dropped by more than 50% and the unemployment rate in the United States rose to 25%.
Historians point to structural factors such as major bank failures and the stock market crash, while monetarist economists tend to assign the blame to monetary factors such as the actions taken by the Federal Reserve to contract the money supply and Britain’s decision to return to the gold standard at pre-World War I parities (approximately $4).
Credible arguments have also been made that loose credit caused over-indebtedness and and deflation. The over-indebtedness also fueled market speculation and asset bubbles. During the Great Depression, margin requirements were only ten percent (10%). As the stock market crash caused brokerage firms to make margin calls on investors who bought securities on margin, the banks were overwhelmed as these investors all sought to withdraw their funds at once. Banks began to fail as debtors defaulted on their debts and depositor withdrawals resulted in a run on the bank. By April of 1933, approximately $7 billion in deposits had been frozen in failed banks.