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Consolidation in finance likely to persist

September 13, 2009 - Mike Maneval

An article at Bloomberg.com warns the collapse of major financial institutions is no less likely today than it was a year ago. According to reporters Alison Fitzgerald and Christine Harper, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner discarded the advice of Sheila Bair, Paul Volcker and Independent Community Bankers of America president Camden Fine to limit the size of the most massive financial institutions, saying along with Larry Summers that to do so would be impractical.

Daniel Tarullo, who serves on the board of governors for the Federal Reserve, says the approach being taken would require the institutions to "internalize" more of the risks created and implies any serious proposal accepts the increasing consolidation of the financial sector is a trend which will not turn downward - and if Tony Fratto's remarks to the Bloomberg reporters represents a consensus opinion among our leadership, Tarullo may well be right.

Fratto, a staff member for President George W. Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who now works in consulting, opined, “It’s a very difficult thing to say as a national policy goal that we’re going to limit the success of an American firm.”

And if the "success" of any one firm is seen as a more important goal than a competitive market where consumers are empowered, Tarullo is probably right and the consolidation is here to stay.

 
 

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