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Politico Europe: Why U.S. and European banks are still 'Too Big to Fail'

"It wasn't supposed to be this way. The regulatory onslaught that followed the 2008 crisis had one big target: ending "Too Big to Fail," the popular shorthand for large banks' (and insurers') ability to hold governments to ransom by threatening to bring down entire economies with them.

Among the measures aimed at achieving that goal were the 2010 Dodd-Frank law in the U.S., higher capital requirements decreed by the powerful Basel Committee, and the overhaul of EU banking regulation that culminated in the creation of the Single Resolution Board. These measures were intended to erase the acronym most politicians, regulators, and even many bankers, love to hate: TBTF.

To no avail. "Large banks currently remain TBTF," Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, told a regulatory symposium in June. "If a large bank ran into trouble today, it would still need a taxpayer bailout because the implementation of the new regulations remains incomplete," added Kashkari, who worked in senior roles at Goldman Sachs and then at the U.S. Treasury during the crisis."


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Robert Jenkins, a former senior banker who is now senior fellow at the pro-reform group Better Markets, points to a glaring weakness of the current system: Finance is global while regulation remains largely local. Unless Europe and the U.S., and other jurisdictions, can agree on rules to wind down international groups, problems will persist.

"TBTF has not been solved. An agreed cross-border resolution regime is not in place and loss-absorbing capital levels remain too thin for regulators to pull the trigger," Jenkins said.


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To read the full Politico Europe article by Francesco Guerrera click here.

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