May 20, 2016
Should big banks be broken up in order to ensure the stability of the U.S. financial system? In the past year, this has become one of the central questions of the 2016 presidential election. Bernie Sanders has made the proposed break-up of the country’s largest banks a tenet of his campaign. Meanwhile, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has advocated a more measured approach that focuses on the interconnectedness of financial institutions, but expressed a willingness to break up big banks should it be necessary.
A daylong symposium held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, however, raised questions regarding the efficiency of a big bank break-up, and ended with participants, among them former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, largely rejecting the viability of this strategy in securing financial stability.
The symposium was the second symposium on the “Ending Too Big to Fail” initiative that was launched by Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari earlier this year. Shortly after taking over as head of the Minneapolis Fed in January, Kashkari—a former Treasury official—launched the initiative, seeking solutions to the problem of “too big to fail.” Maintaining that financial reform efforts since the 2008 crisis, including the Dodd-Frank Act, have not gone far enough, in February Kashkari called on policy makers to “give serious consideration” to a number of options, including “breaking up large banks into smaller, less connected, less important entities,” forcing banks “to hold so much capital that they virtually can’t fail,” or taxing leverage “throughout the financial system to reduce systemic risks wherever they lie.”
Read the full article at Pro-Market: How to End Too-Big-To-Fail? At Minneapolis Fed Symposium, Participants Reject Big Bank Breakup