Monday, April 5, 2010

Big Banks Dominate U.S. Banking System: Study

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Just 16 banks account for more than half of the assets in the nation's banking system, new data show.

The banks -- all of which have more than $100 billion in assets -- control nearly 56 percent of all assets in the banking system, according to an analysis of fourth quarter Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data by Dennis Santiago, CEO and managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics, a California-based consultancy.

Leading voices like Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas M. Hoenig and U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) want to bust up the megabanks, arguing that the firms played a big role in causing a near-meltdown of the financial system and the subsequent Great Recession. The firms benefit from their size by being implicitly -- if not explicitly -- backed by the U.S. government, giving them a huge advantage over traditional Main Street banks, which harbor no illusions about U.S. taxpayers possibly bailing them out.
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