Federal Reserve Officials Testify On "Too Big To Fail Institutions"

June 29, 2013 C-SPAN

The "too big to fail" theory asserts that certain financial institutions are so large and so interconnected that their failure would be disastrous to the economy, and they therefore must be supported by government when they face difficulty. The colloquial term "too big to fail" was popularized by U.S. Congressman Stewart McKinney in a 1984 Congressional hearing, discussing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's intervention with Continental Illinois. The term had previously been used occasionally in the press.

Proponents of this theory believe that some institutions are so important that they should become recipients of beneficial financial and economic policies from governments or central banks.[3] Some economists such as Paul Krugman hold that economies of scale in banks and in other businesses are worth preserving, so long as they are well regulated in proportion to their economic clout, and therefore that "too big to fail" status can be acceptable. The global economic system must also deal with sovereign states being too big to fail.

Opponents believe that one of the problems that arises is moral hazard whereby a company that benefits from these protective policies will seek to profit by it, deliberately taking positions (see Asset allocation) that are high-risk high-return, as they are able to leverage these risks based on the policy preference they receive. The term has emerged as prominent in public discourse since the 2007–2010 global financial crisis. Critics see the policy as counterproductive and that large banks or other institutions should be left to fail if their risk management is not effective. Some critics, such as Alan Greenspan, believe that such large organisations should be deliberately broken up: “If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big”. More than fifty prominent economists, financial experts, bankers, finance industry groups, and banks themselves have called for breaking up large banks into smaller institutions.

On March 6, 2013, United States Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department faces difficulty charging large banks with crimes because of the risk to the economy. Four days later, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard W. Fisher wrote in advance of a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference that large banks should be broken up into smaller banks, and both Federal Deposit Insurance and Federal Reserve discount window access should end for large banks. Other conservatives including Thomas Hoenig, Ed Prescott, Glenn Hubbard, and David Vitter also advocated breaking up the largest banks.

On April 10, 2013, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the Economic Club of New York "too big to fail" banks had become "more dangerous than ever" and needed to be controlled with "comprehensive and clear regulation [and] more intensive and intrusive supervision.

1 comment:

  1. great, so it is a "bail in" instead of a "bail out"

    buy some food rations, get prepared. the money you have in the bank will evaporate once the house of cards comes crashing down again. just 1's and 0's really. what is the larger point to this life?


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