Senator Dodd, who I like to call Senator Big Bank, and Senator Schumer, who I like to call Senator Wall Street, are doing their best to ensure that regulatory reform in the financial services sector results in nothing but good news for their biggest donors. Senator Big Bank this week chaired a Senate Banking Committee hearing on regulatory reform where he asked this ridiculous question: "Is the administration's proposal really enough, or should we be listening to previous administrations...that greater consolidation should be the next step?" (quoted in American Banker, 8/5/09) Apparently he feels that the Bush, and to some extent Clinton, administrations' march toward regulatory consolidation, the same administrations who laid the groundwork for the banking crisis, had the right idea. Huh?
And Senator Wall Street pulls the Rovian tactic of calling it a "turf war" effectively shutting down meaningful conversation before it even starts. It seems as if his turf (his millions of dollars of campaign contributions from Wall Street) is the only one that needs protecting. And forget about consumers/taxpayers in all of this. Banking consolidation will mean just a handful of bigger banks calling the shots for consumers and on Capitol Hill. The same way the ones that were too big to fail and needed bailing out have done it for the past decade.
One of the important things that kept the credit moving moving and prevented a total melt-down of the system, was the existence of over 6,000 state-chartered banks, many of them smaller community banks. State regulators in general have been doing their part to try and protect consumers and do their part to ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system. They are by no means perfect, and have for a long time been blocked by the feds from doing their job, but they provide checks and balances that would disappear if Senator Big Bank and Senator Wall Street get their way.
(Crossposted at MyPorch)