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.
The federal authorities should halt all bank merger approvals until they strengthen the outdated guidelines that govern whether financial institutions can combine, according to a letter delivered today by 30 public interest organizations.
AFREF led a letter to regulators stating that the laissez-faire stance adopted by the Department of Justice and the federal bank regulators and current merger guidelines have hurt small businesses, community banks, and households, especially those in BIPOC communities. The letter urges regulators to temporarily halt consideration of pending bank mergers until the DOJ and banking agencies adopt a plan that strengthens the guidelines to protect consumers.
Americans for Financial Reform welcomes the FDIC’s action on reviewing bank mergers. In the last 15 years, the federal bank regulators have rubber-stamped merger applications. This has led to unprecedented consolidation in the industry which has hurt consumers and small businesses, in the form of bank deserts and decreased lending to small businesses while lining the pockets of the banking executives. We look forward to commenting on ways to strengthen the bank merger guidelines to protect the interest of the communities they are supposed to serve.