“No one should be mistaken about what unfolded over the past few days in the U.S. banking system: These recent bank failures are the direct result of leaders in Washington weakening the financial rules.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act to protect consumers and ensure that big banks could never again take down the economy and destroy millions of lives. Wall Street chief executives and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists hated this law. They spent millions trying to defeat it, and, when they lost, spent millions more trying to weaken it.
Greg Becker, the chief executive of Silicon Valley Bank, was one of the many high-powered executives who lobbied Congress to weaken the law. In 2018, the big banks won. With support from both parties, President Donald Trump signed a law to roll back critical parts of Dodd-Frank. Regulators, including the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, then made a bad situation worse, letting financial institutions load up on risk.
Banks like S.V.B. — which had become the 16th largest bank in the country before regulators shut it down on Friday — got relief from stringent requirements, basing their claim on the laughable assertion that banks like them weren’t actually “big” and therefore didn’t need strong oversight.”
“Mr. Mehrabi has proposed that the Biden administration allow monthly transfers of small amounts of the frozen funds for the sole purpose of auctioning off dollars to private banks. Such auctions are easy to monitor and could be cut off if the money was used for any other purpose, he said. Such an arrangement would bolster the hand of technocrats who have continued to work under the Taliban. It could be conditioned on their independence from the Taliban or on hiring certain technical staff members. Refusing to release any portion of the funds as long as the Taliban are in power would remove the money as a source of leverage.
Given the Sept. 11 lawsuit, it may not be possible to free up the funds frozen in New York in time to stave off a crisis. It may be more realistic for funds to be released from the banks in Europe, which hold a smaller but still significant amount of the Afghanistan central bank’s money. Since commercial banks in Afghanistan are required to keep some reserves in the central bank, hundreds of millions of dollars in the frozen overseas accounts are part of the life savings of Afghan citizens, which should not be rendered inaccessible because the Taliban took over the country.
It would not cost American taxpayers a dime to issue letters of comfort to European banks to make it clear that they will not be punished for giving private Afghan citizens access to their money. If this doesn’t happen, the world will be treated to the spectacle of Americans and Europeans paying to mitigate a humanitarian disaster caused, in part, by the fact that many Afghans have been cut off from their own money.”
“In less than a week, Keri Fitzpatrick, a self-described lunch lady, was dinged for $175 she definitely didn’t have.
A succession of automated payments over two days — for her phone, two credit cards and car insurance — pushed her TD Bank account into the red, socking her with $140 in overdraft fees. Then another unexplained fee surfaced on Friday, even though her paycheck had landed and she couldn’t find any other pending charges.
Ms. Fitzpatrick, 29, said she should’ve been paying closer attention — she assumed she had more money in her account. But she still couldn’t believe how quickly the charges piled up.
“It’s not like one fee comes out for one day. It is $35 for each of those,” said Ms. Fitzpatrick, of Peterborough, N.H., who oversees a middle school cafeteria. “It is just outrageous.” “
” . . . Overdraft fees have been a boon to banks. Revenue was $31.3 billion in 2020, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm, down 10 percent from $34.6 billion in 2019. (Banks account for 78 percent of overdraft and insufficient fund fees, followed by credit unions at 20 percent and savings banks and fintechs at less than 2 percent.)
Overdraft fees peaked at $37.1 billion in 2009 and then began to decline after new regulations in 2010 required banks to receive consumers’ consent to opt in to overdraft services covering debit transactions and A.T.M. withdrawals.”
DL: This is a fee that should be banned entirely or severely restricted by the Federal Government, asap.For some banks, it is most of their profits.