WASHINGTON — After more than three years, 18,000 comments and one whale of a scandal, regulators are closing in on a final Volcker Rule that is expected to be tougher than its first draft.

The controversial proprietary trading ban, enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act, has proved to be one of the financial reform law's most challenging provisions to implement, forcing five regulators to work together in a lengthy process that has frustrated everyone involved. While the concept of the provision is easy to understand — forcing commercial banks to stop taking risky bets with U.S. taxpayers' funds — the specifics have spurred confusion and discord.

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