Category Archives: Regulation

Obama to Propose New Limits on Banks – WSJ.com

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama on Thursday is expected to propose new limits on the size and risk taken by the country’s biggest banks, marking the administration’s latest assault on Wall Street in what could mark a return, at least in spirit, to some of the curbs on finance put in place during the Great Depression, according to congressional sources and administration officials.

The past decade saw widespread consolidation among large financial institutions to create huge banking titans. If Congress approves the proposal, the White House plan could permanently impose government constraints on the size and nature of banking.

Mr. Obama’s proposal is expected to include new scale restrictions on the size of the country’s largest financial institutions. The goal would be to deter banks from becoming so large they put the broader economy at risk and to also prevent banks from becoming so large they distort normal competitive forces. It couldn’t be learned what precise limits the White House will endorse, or whether Mr. Obama will spell out the exact limits on Thursday.

Mr. Obama is also expected to endorse, for the first time publicly, measures pushed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which would place restrictions on the proprietary trading done by commercial banks, essentially limiting the way banks bet with their own capital. Administration officials say they want to place “firewalls” between different divisions of financial companies to ensure banks don’t indirectly subsidize “speculative” trading through other subsidiaries that hold federally insured deposits.

via Obama to Propose New Limits on Banks – WSJ.com.

via Obama to Propose New Limits on Banks – WSJ.com.

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Keep Wall Street risks away from Main Street | islandpacket.com

The four biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo –now control more than two-fifths of all bank deposits, more than 66 percent of all credit card accounts and more than half of all mortgages in the U.S.Unfortunately, they also run trillions of dollars in risky trading ventures that could blow up in our faces again.We need to keep risk where it belongs — on Wall Street — and security where it matters — on Main Street. That way, if the derivatives cowboys want to take obscene risks, they can but without driving the rest of us to the brink of financial oblivion.

via Keep Wall Street risks away from Main Street | islandpacket.com.

via Keep Wall Street risks away from Main Street | islandpacket.com.

McCain and Cantwell Want a New Glass-Steagall Law | Newsweek Voices – Michael Hirsh | Newsweek.com

The blinding complexity and interconnections created by modern capital markets—especially because of the way nearly half a trillion dollars in derivatives trades linked the firms to each other—demanded that there be strong firewalls and capital buffers between Wall Street institutions and their affiliates, and between banks and nonbanks and insurance companies. Otherwise there would be no islands of safety—no healthy institutions left to come and rescue the day, as commercial banks traditionally had done since the days of J. P. Morgans famous bailout in 1907. The repeal of Glass-Steagall took things in precisely the opposite direction, eliminating most of the firewalls and inviting staid commercial banks into the buccaneering world of Wall Street trading. Representative Hinchey says it “was a recipe for disaster because these banks were empowered to make large bets with depositors money, and money they didnt really have. When many of those bets, particularly in the housing sector, didnt pan out, the whole deck of cards came crumbling down and U.S. taxpayers had to come to the rescue.”Today the walls between firms still seem low indeed, and trading in derivatives that are “over the counter” that is, out of public sight continues at an astonishing pace, having risen back up to nearly $600 trillion worth. One big danger sign ahead is that the biggest banks have gotten even bigger in the aftermath of the catastrophe, and under the new rules requiring swap dealers to post capital for margin requirements, the big banks are likely to monopolize even more of this derivatives market and become that much richer and more powerful.

via McCain and Cantwell Want a New Glass-Steagall Law | Newsweek Voices – Michael Hirsh | Newsweek.com.

via McCain and Cantwell Want a New Glass-Steagall Law | Newsweek Voices – Michael Hirsh | Newsweek.com.

Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail – Bloomberg.com

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — Paul A. Volcker visited nine cities in five countries in the past eight weeks to warn that bankers and regulators “have not come anywhere close to responding with necessary vigor” to the worst economic crisis in 70 years.

“There is a lot of evidence that financial weaknesses brought us to the brink of a great depression,” Volcker, 82, said Dec. 8. at a conference in West Sussex, England. He told executives there that the changes they’ve proposed are “like a dimple.”

Two years after the start of the deepest recession since the 1930s, no U.S. or European authority has put in force a single measure that would transform the financial system, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. No rule- or law-making body is actively considering the automatic dismantling of banks that Volcker told Congress are sheltered by access to an implicit safety net.

There’s little evidence that policy makers are heeding Volcker, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

via Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail – Bloomberg.com.

via Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail – Bloomberg.com.

Robert Creamer: Pass Financial Regulatory Reform – Then Break Up the Big Wall Street Banks

Last Friday, the House passed critical regulatory reform legislation aimed at preventing the recurrence of the kind of financial meltdown that devastated our economy at the end of the Bush administration.

The lobbyists from Wall Street worked hand-in-glove with the Republicans, and a few Democrats, to try to kill the bill. Astoundingly, the Republicans argued that Wall Street should continue to be free to engage in the same reckless speculation that led directly to 10 percent unemployment and required the taxpayers to inject hundreds of billions into the markets so that the geniuses of private finance would not plunge us all into the abyss of another Great Depression.

With no regard for history — and here I mean the events of only 12 months ago — the Republicans and Big Banks have the audacity to contend that the creation of jobs and a growing economy requires the lowest levels of regulation and government involvement possible.

Here’s a news flash: we tried it your way for eight years. The results: the lowest level of job creation of any eight-year period since World War II; all of the country’s economic growth was siphoned off by the top 2 percent of the population and the financial sector; and the economy imploded. Sure — let’s try that again.

The Republicans even had the brazenness to convene a convocation of 100 Wall Street lobbyists last Wednesday to plot how they could completely kill financial regulatory reform. They failed, largely due to the great work of Americans for Regulatory Reform, House Speaker Pelosi, Finance Chair Barney Frank and intensive lobbying from the Obama administration.

via Robert Creamer: Pass Financial Regulatory Reform – Then Break Up the Big Wall Street Banks.

via Robert Creamer: Pass Financial Regulatory Reform – Then Break Up the Big Wall Street Banks.