U.S. community banks have a problem with too-big-to-fail, and they took it to Capitol Hill last week. “The doctrine of too big—or to interconnected—to fail, has finally come home to roost, to the detriment of American taxpayers,” Michael Washburn, vice chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America’s policy development committee said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
Washburn, who doubles as president and CEO of Hoover, AL-based Red Mountain Bank, outlined the ICBA’s platform for more rigorous regulation and a de-concentration of the banking sector. The organization supports multiple federal banking regulators. “Having more than a single federal agency regulating depository institutions provides valuable checks-and-balances,” Washburn said.
Congress should set aside any thought of raising the 10-percent deposit concentration cap, too. “If this current crisis has taught us anything it is that past public policies have created a very dangerous overconcentration of financial resources in too few hands, to the point that just one failure of these Too Big to Fail, and Too Big to Manage, and Too Big to Regulate financial institutions can destabilize the economy and well being to the United States,” Washburn testified, calling for a strengthening of the concentration cap.