The banks that caused the 2008 financial crisis with their greed and recklessness are even bigger now than they were ten years ago. Separating risky investment banking and “boring” commercial banking will help prevent financial crises – and bailouts – and refocus banks on serving their customers. Not only would this make bank activities less risky, it would make the institutions smaller, breaking up megabanks and leveling the playing field for smaller banks.
“The Warren-McCain bill would restore the Glass-Steagall firewall and update it for the 21st century by fully addressing new developments like the massive growth in the market for complex derivatives and securities lending. By forcing the separation of commercial and investment banking, it would break up “too big to fail” banks that combine both activities, and reduce their power over the financial markets and the economy.”
“Advocates from Take on Wall Street, an alliance of labor, consumer, community, religious, and netroots organizations, were on Capitol Hill this morning, telling key Congressional leaders to support a new Glass-Steagall Act. The groups delivered a petition with more than 350,000 signatures, calling on House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), as well as Senate Banking Committee chair Richard Shelby and others, to follow through on a policy backed by both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms.”
AFR’s Marcus Stanley writes: “The 2008 crisis was catastrophic for the global economy not simply because nonbank financial institutions failed, but because the problems in nonbanks spread throughout the financial system and threatened to bring down giant megabanks that combined commercial and investment banking, such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Glass-Steagall firewalls between Wall Street trading markets and ordinary commercial banking are directly relevant to stopping this kind of contagion.”
“[A]lexis Goldstein, a senior analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, thinks banks might be too complacent. She notes that a recent poll shows that 75% of Americans think banks need to tougher laws. ‘I think it’s clear that voters are still very unhappy about this,’ says Goldstein. She thinks it will be hard for either party to ignore the voter outrage.”
“I think you need an all-of-the-above approach: you use the law that bears Barney Frank’s name, which requires the breakup of any bank that is too big to fail without harming the economy; you pass new legislation, the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act, which is a bipartisan piece of legislation – Senator Warren’s on it, and Senator McCain is on it. And then you need to involve the public and the grass roots in order to build this new voice that’s going to hold these people accountable.” — AFR’s Alexis Goldstein
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I.-Me.) have reintroduced their “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act,” which would restore the historic division between traditional (or commercial) banking world and the casino world of trading and speculating. Five years after passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the case for this bipartisan legislation is stronger than ever.
“‘A candidate could both support legislative change and tie commitments to that to how they’re thinking about appointments,’ said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. Donner added that it’s also important what kind of economic advisers candidates surround themselves with.”
“At the Capitol this afternoon [July 9], Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received petitions in which nearly 600,000 Americans call for action on the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Warren along with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I-Maine), would address the problem of Wall Street banks that have become too complicated, too conflicted and too powerful, as well as simply too big.”