What we most need right now is a national conversation about the economy and America's future. What we least need is more bank bashing — at the moment something of a national pastime, but an activity that is highly unproductive, not to say unfair.

In the search for someone to blame, "bank" has become shorthand for "any financial company." But there is of course a world of difference between regulated banking organizations and unregulated and underregulated financial institutions. The fact is that economic decision-making was grossly distorted by lightly regulated or wholly unregulated nonbank financial companies. Nonbanks were the pacesetters in a cutthroat race that put sound underwriting practices on a collision course with competition for customers and markets.

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