Fact and Fiction Behind Too Big to Fail

BREAK ‘EM UP: Ten Reasons to Isolate Taxpayers from TBTF Systemic Banks

Commercial banking and investment banking are fundamentally different businesses. Each may stand between those who have money to spare and those who need to borrow it, but their risks, time horizons, and compensation practices differ widely. As Glass-Steagall barriers between the two were dissolved beginning in 1987, the largest banks took higher risks, backed by…

BREAK ‘EM UP!: Money in Politics Challenges the Real Solution to Systemic Risk

Getting Congress to force separation once again between commercial and investment banking may be politically challenging, even in an era of supposedly courting the middle class. But it is the only way to substantially minimize the need for future taxpayer bailouts of large banks. Employees and PACs of the largest banking, hedge fund, and private…

BREAK ‘EM UP!: Creating Systemic TBTF Banks

Most folks outside the financial services industry (and many within) have the mistaken impression that the elimination of Glass-Steagall barriers between investment and commercial banking occurred in one legislative move. The true truth is that the barriers were first eroded by Federal Reserve actions, instigated by big U.S. commercial banks over a decade earlier than…

BREAK ‘EM UP Reason #10: Only the Biggest Are Both Investment and Commercial Banks

Only the largest banks engage in both commercial and investment banking. Each business has its unique attributes and therefore regulatory challenges. Dodd-Frank categorizes banks with balance sheet assets of $50 billion and larger as systemic. But when one looks at the bank holding companies (BHCs) with $50 billion or more in assets and also looks at…

BREAK ‘EM UP Reason #9: Only TBTF Banks Sold Securitized Residential Mortgages

Not all large banks designated as “systemic” by Dodd-Frank expose taxpayers to investment banking’s trading risks. Only the largest are the ones packaging and trading derivatives and were “securitizing” and selling residential mortgage-backed securities. Securities trading, historically of bonds and equities, has always been an investment banking strength. However, financial engineering created new, more opaque…

Fairy Tale Capitalism: Fact and Fiction Behind Too Big to Fail

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Was the mortgage debacle the sole cause of the financial bubble's collapse? Do you believe those who say the elimination of Glass-Steagall barriers didn't contribute to its building? Fairy Tale Capitalism: Fact and Fiction Behind Too Big To Fail places the mortgage mess into a broader perspective. It explains how the Federal deposit guarantee was married to investment banking's trading intensity, why the Fed had no choice but to bail out the biggest banks and how derivatives played a poorly-understood, but equally important role in the crisis. In simple terms Emily Eisenlohr walks with those who live on Main Street down Wall Street's darker alleys.

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