Thursday, January 21, 2010

A new form of Glass-Steagall?

As noted on Twitter, FT Alphaville is abuzz today with news of Obama's plan to limit the "size and scope" of large US banks.

Here's an excerpt from the administration's press release:

"“While the financial system is far stronger today than it was a year one year ago, it is still operating under the exact same rules that led to its near collapse,” said President Barack Obama.

“My resolve to reform the system is only strengthened when I see a return to old practices at some of the very firms fighting reform; and when I see record profits at some of the very firms claiming that they cannot lend more to small business, cannot keep credit card rates low, and cannot refund taxpayers for the bailout. It is exactly this kind of irresponsibility that makes clear reform is necessary.”

The proposal would:

1. Limit the Scope - The President and his economic team will work with Congress to ensure that no bank or financial institution that contains a bank will own, invest in or sponsor a hedge fund or a private equity fund, or proprietary trading operations unrelated to serving customers for its own profit.

2. Limit the Size - The President also announced a new proposal to limit the consolidation of our financial sector. The President’s proposal will place broader limits on the excessive growth of the market share of liabilities at the largest financial firms, to supplement existing caps on the market share of deposits.

It goes on to say that the President will work very closely with others (the illustrious Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, to name a few) to benefit consumers, close loopholes, and end the "Too Big to Fail" mentality.

This is tragically hilarious when you consider that these same large banks attained their TBTF status with the help of government bailouts and their ensuing moral hazard risks. So once again, government wants to "solve" the very problems they helped create in the first place.

For more insight on this proposed "Glass-Steagall II" legislation, and the rise of "too big to fail" banks, see our related articles section below.

Related articles and posts:

1. Obama gets tough on Wall Street banks -

2. Banks are bigger problem now: Niall Ferguson - Finance Trends.

3. Obama moves to restrict big banks -