DOJ Can’t Prosecute Banks

By Henry Meier

It’s official.  Not only are the big banks too big to fail, they are now too big to prosecute.  The blogosphere is abuzz this morning with an article from The Hill reporting that in testimony yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Eric Holder, the top prosecutor in the country, said the following:

“I am concerned that the size of these financial institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.  And I think that this is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

Let this quote sink in.  The Attorney General of the United States is saying that he doesn’t have enough power to hold the most important institutions in our country accountable for potentially criminal conduct.  If that doesn’t amount to a clarion call that something needs to be done to put the system back into balance, I don’t know what does.  Just as Teddy Roosevelt broke up the big trusts to aid the development of this country’s economy, it’s about time we started doing the same to the largest banks in the country.  As I have said before, it’s about time that credit unions join the fight.  Along with community banks, we demonstrate better than anyone that having a two-tier financial system where one group of businesses have to abide by the rules and another knows it doesn’t have to results in a financial system where smaller institutions simply can’t compete.  Banking reform, not just regulatory relief, should be one of our top industry priorities.

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