Key Questions On Banking Reform

CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason sat down with CBS News anchor Harry Smith to discuss President Obama's plan for banking regulation reform.

Q: The White House says this is their attempt to prevent another financial meltdown like the one we've been living through. How will it work?

A: Among the Obama plan's key points are that it would give the Federal Reserve greater authority over large financial institutions, thought to be "systematically important to the economy." That means those banks felt to be "too big to fail."

It would create a new regulatory council, chaired by the Treasury Department to identify emerging systemic risks to the economy, like those credit default swaps that helped lead to the subprime mortgage mess.

And, it would set up a new consumer financial protection agency. This agency would have the authority to approve or reject mortgage products. It would also establish new disclosure rules for home loans, credit cards and other consumer debt - so you'll actually be able to read and understand what's in the fine print.

Q: Critics say this is too much regulation. Others say it's not enough. Can the White House make this a Goldilocks moment? Can they get it just right?

A: Well, this would be the most significant regulatory reform since the Depression. But as far as it goes, some say it still doesn't go far enough. The devil, as always, will be in the details, which will be up to Congress how many teeth they put in the reform.

Q: The President seemed less critical of Wall Street than in the past.

A: He spread the blame around a bit more today. There is plenty in his plan Wall Street won't like. But noticeably absent from the president's plan are limits on executive compensation, which the banks did not want.