As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, I consider a properly functioning financial services sector a critical part of our economy. It is my goal to support public policy that ensures every South Dakotan can invest in a safe and strong market. I have fought to maintain consumer access to affordable credit, and to protect consumers from bad actors. I have used my position on the Senate Banking Committee to advocate for the millions of Americans that have invested in their futures, and worked to enable Americans to have more secure retirements.
In South Dakota, over 28,000 private sector jobs are generated by the financial services industry. Strong banking infrastructure is crucial to our state and to our local communities. The financial services institutions that serve our communities not only provide a secure place for residents to invest their savings, but our communities benefit tremendously as those deposits are reinvested into the local economy through loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs, financing home purchases and kids' educations, and other important investments in our people and our way of life. I am proud to have worked with bankers and other financial service providers throughout our state, as well as the consumers they serve. I am pleased to be in a position to closely monitor this important industry and the regulations that govern it.
The 2008 economic downturn our nation suffered started as a crisis in the subprime mortgage market. Thankfully, South Dakota did not seen the highs and lows of the housing market in the same way as other areas of the country. As a general rule, South Dakota's homebuyers exercised strong personal responsibility. They didn't buy too much house, our housing market didn't experience the boom that other parts of the country did, and South Dakota banks didn't sell as many exotic loan products as bankers in other regions; our state should be commended for that. Unfortunately, damage from reckless lending and borrowing practices moved beyond the housing sector of the economy, and its ripple effects were felt across the country. As we continue to come out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, I am committed to an agenda to restore our economy, make our financial regulations world class, and ensure that consumers and investors are meaningfully protected.
No one has suggested that turning the economy around was going to happen overnight. We still have a long way to go in returning confidence to the financial markets. Nonetheless, the Dodd-Frank Act has significantly enhanced our regulatory system and established many safeguards for consumers. It ensures greater accountability and transparency of Wall Street, and provides consumers the right tools to make good decisions. It also provides tools to prevent another crisis. Many of the provisions have bipartisan support; in fact, many of the core ideas incorporated into the bill originated from my Republican colleagues.
As we move forward, I am committed to ensuring implementation of the Dodd-Frank legislation is done correctly, and to addressing the nation’s housing finance system. Establishing a new structure for housing finance will vastly influence our economy, and impact every homeowner. For these reasons, we must be careful and deliberate when considering how to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and we must also have a structure established to replace them. I look forward to an open dialogue as we build consensus around a viable path forward.
I will continue fighting for good, effective regulations that balance consumer protection and allow for sustainable economic growth. We have made tremendous strides in recovering from such a dire financial state, and I am committed to increasing the safety and soundness of our financial system, to prevent such catastrophic circumstances moving forward.
I encourage you to visit www.banking.senate.gov for more detailed information on the work of the Senate Banking Committee.