The chorus of those calling for breaking up the big banks is growing larger and louder by the day. Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) in a speech on the floor of the Senate last Friday:
“These mega-banks are too big to manage, too big to regulate, too big to fail and too interconnected to resolve when the next crisis hits. We must break up these banks and separate again those commercial banking activities that are guaranteed by the government from those investment banking activities that are speculative and reflect greater risk.”
Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, March 3:
“A truly effective restructuring of our regulatory regime will have to neutralize what I consider to be the greatest threat to our financial system’s stability—the so-called too-big-to-fail, or TBTF, banks. In the past two decades, the biggest banks have grown significantly bigger. In 1990, the 10 largest U.S. banks had almost 25 percent of the industry’s assets. Their share grew to 44 percent in 2000 and almost 60 percent in 2009.
…Given the danger these institutions pose to spreading debilitating viruses throughout the financial world, my preference is for a more prophylactic approach: an international accord to break up these institutions into ones of more manageable size—more manageable for both the executives of these institutions and their regulatory supervisors.”
Senator Kaufman and Mr. Fisher are just the latest additions to the list that includes former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, FDIC head Sheila Bair, Sen. Cantwell, and Sen. McCain, among many others. Unfortunately, two names not on the list are Treasury Secretary Geithner and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd.
And as if on cue, Citigroup gives us a prime example of why these financial behemoths need to be dissolved, and have what was once the “boring” business of commercial banking–taking deposits and making loans–separated from the risky business in which the banksters love to engage (with OPM of course) and why Wall Street cannot be left to its own devices:
“It appears that the pain of the recession is not deep enough to teach Citigroup Inc. what it needs to learn. The bank..is now readying a new unregulated insurance credit derivative, the CLX…The company is heading back into familiar territory where they’re putting taxpayer money into play on another risky bet. Simply put the instrument will enable it to gamble on future events by issuing complex financial instruments which attempt to quantify risk. This is very similar to the original business that Citigroup was heavily involved with that precipitated their fall from glory.”
Leopards and banksters never change their spots.