America Needs Bank Regulation More Than Ever!
At a time when Congress seems dedicated to rolling back as much of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as possible, it gets clearer every day that America, as a nation, and all Americans as individuals need reform of the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks more than ever.
The first signal was the economic catastrophe so narrowly averted in 2008, when these grotesquely bloated institutions led the world economy into chaos. Then, over the intervening years that we’ve battled those same banks every day in court, the overwhelming lesson we’ve learned has been that Banks simply don’t do business like business. They routinely, almost universally, fail to adequately perform the very basic functions for which they are responsible. It is these lapses that make it possible to fight the banks in foreclosure court.
More recently, we read one news story after another about how the big banks consciously engage in absolutely unmistakable criminality, such as assisting drug barons, arms merchants and other felons to launder the proceeds of their crimes, evade paying their fair share of American taxes, and generally conduct themselves like there is no such thing as law.
Over the same period of time, we have learned more and more examples of huge amounts of money being lost to forgery, larceny, and other forms of theft, most examples of which go unreported, because the banks don’t want the bad publicity. They just quietly cover the loss, and allow the taxpayer to get left holding the bag when they eventually get in trouble. Most of these problems are a function of nobody at the bank ever actually looking at signatures on checks, or the many other routine functions designed to protect the financial system. These things don’t get done mostly because the banks aren’t willing to hire enough people, well enough paid to do what it takes to make banking safe in this day and age.
Finally, as the danger of remote attacks from hackers increases every single day, the banks are not responding appropriately to tighten their systems. The New York Times (among others) has written about a 2013 attack on banks all over the globe, of breathtaking size and complexity. It is an illuminating read:
Bank Hackers Steal Millions via Malware
This new threat is actually another threat to the global economic system, one in the very backyards of the Wall Street bankers, but they are asleep at the wheel, as usual. Their failure to respond aggressively to this threat may turn out to be many times more damaging than the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.