Observations on the Problem of “Too Big to Fail/Save/Resolve”
Past experience suggests that multifunctional banking is the leading source of financial crisis, while large bank size contributes to contagion and systemic risk. This indicates that resolving large banks will not solve the problems associated with multifunctional banking—a conclusion reached after every financial crisis, and one that should apply to the present crisis as well. Senior Scholar Jan Kregel observes that it is important to recognize that past solutions may not be appropriate for present conditions. The approach to the current financial crisis has been to resolve small- and medium-size banks through the FDIC, while banks considered “too big to fail” are given direct and indirect government support. Many of these large government-supported banks have been allowed to absorb smaller banks through FDIC resolution, creating even larger banks. As these institutions repay their direct government support, the problem of “too big to fail” is simply aggravated. Thus, the current thrust of government regulatory reform—increased capital and liquidity requirements, and further legislation—is unlikely to lessen the systemic risks these institutions pose.