FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2022
William Pierre-Louis, Jr.
Bank Regulators Need to Swiftly Act to Strengthen Bank Merger Guidelines
Today, 29 groups called on federal bank regulators to finally draft a plan to strengthen the merger guidelines to mitigate the adverse effects of bank consolidation, which include increased evictions, higher rates of debt collection, and decreased access to credit for consumers and businesses.
“It has been over a year since President Biden called on the bank regulators to adopt a plan to revitalize bank merger oversight. We are very disappointed to see more mergers approved, such as the U.S. Bank and MUFG Union Bank merger, while we wait for the guidelines to be improved,” said Renita Marcellin, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform. “Communities and businesses are being harmed as this string of mergers make banking services more inaccessible and unaffordable.”
“We are alarmed about the ongoing consolidation in the baking industry. The number of U.S. banks has plummeted from 18,000 in the 1980s to less than 5,000 today. This consolidation wave has had profound effects on local economies, especially in rural areas. The agencies need to step up and take action,” said Brian Callaci, chief economist at Open Markets Institute.
The letter signed by financial reformers, anti-monopoly activists, civil rights groups, and consumer advocates expressed concern with the lack of action by bank regulators to strengthen the outdated framework that governs bank mergers and highlights the harmful impacts bank consolidation has had on historically marginalized groups, and rural and low-to-moderate income communities.
Americans for Financial Reform and other public interest groups have also called for a moratorium on bank mergers until the outdated guidelines are strengthened.