Congressman Chuy García: ‘When big banks get bigger, taxpayers lose’

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Protecting Consumers from the Pitfalls of Bank Mergers

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsCongressman Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, on Wednesday announced the introduction of the Bank Merger Review Modernization Act. The legislation would restrict harmful consolidation in the banking industry and protect consumers and the financial system from “Too Big to Fail” institutions, like those that caused the 2008 financial crisis. The upcoming merger between SunTrust Banks, Inc. (SunTrust) and BB&T Corporation (BB&T) will create the sixth-largest U.S. bank and first new Too Big to Fail bank since the financial crisis.

“When big banks get bigger, consumers and taxpayers usually lose. We must protect our financial system by slowing down bank consolidation. This bill will help address this, taking the Fed and FDIC off autopilot and giving consumers a voice in reviewing bank mergers,” said Congressman García.  “Nearly two years ago, Chairman Powell confirmed my worst suspicions that the Fed has not declined a single merger request since before the financial crisis,” said Senator Warren. “The bill Congressman García and I are announcing today would ensure that regulators do their jobs by stopping mergers that deprive communities of the banking services they need, reward banks that cheat or discriminate against their customers, and risk another financial crisis.  

Before banks merge, they need approval from regulators, including the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), but the review process for bank mergers is fundamentally broken. Studies show that bank mergers can result in higher costs to consumers and decreased access to financial products, especially in rural areas. The Bank Merger Review Modernization Act strengthens and modernizes the statutory standards under which federal regulators analyze bank merger applications by:

Safeguarding the Stability of the Financial System. The legislation requires regulators to use a quantifiable metric developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to evaluate systemic risk. The score is based on the size, interconnectedness, substitutability, complexity, and cross-jurisdictional activity of the institution.

Requiring that Regulators Examine the Anticompetitive Effects on Individual Banking Products. The legislation requires regulators to examine how the merger would impact market concentration for individual banking products, such as commercial deposits, home mortgage lending, and small business lending rather than just the general availability of banking products in local markets.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

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