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A congressional subcommittee last week drew on the expertise of an Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business faculty member in developing a better understanding of "systemically important financial institutions."

James Barth, Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance and a Milken Institute Senior Fellow, testified at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. The hearing helped members of the congressional subcommittee better understand why the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act designates bank holding companies as "systemically important financial institutions."

The subcommittee also explored alternative means of assessing the systemic importance of financial institutions, the standards and requirements adhered to by bank holding companies and the challenges and limitations in compliance with new regulatory standards.

Barth, the co-author of "Guardians of Finance: Making Regulators Work for Us," pursues research related to financial institutions and capital markets and regulatory issues. An appointee of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Barth served as chief economist for the Office of Thrift Supervision. In June, Barth was invited to the White House to discuss his recent research with the National Economic Council.