“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.”
Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Opening unauthorized bank accounts. Cheating customers on mortgages and car loans. Mistreating service members. If you can dream up a financial scam, there’s a good chance that Wells Fargo ran it on its customers in recent years. Last week, after years of pressure, the company finally parted ways with its second chief executive in three years. But that’s not nearly enough accountability. It’s time to reform our laws to make sure that corporate executives face jail time for overseeing massive scams.
In 2016, after the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scam came to light, I called out then-chief executive John Stumpf for gutlessly throwing workers at the bank under the bus — and told him he should resign. Weeks later, he did. When Wells Fargo elevated longtime senior executive Tim Sloan to replace Stumpf, I told Sloan he should be fired for his role in enabling and covering up the fake-accounts scam. For years, I pressured federal regulators, urging Sloan’s dismissal, and last week Sloan “retired.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Sloan and Stumpf aren’t in charge anymore. But this isn’t real accountability. When a criminal on the street steals money from your wallet, they go to jail. When small-business owners cheat their customers, they go to jail. But when corporate executives at big companies oversee huge frauds that hurt tens of thousands of people, they often get to walk away with multimillion-dollar payouts.”
Source: Elizabeth Warren: Corporate executives like those at Wells Fargo must face jail time for overseeing massive scams – The Washington Post