The Department of Justice and federal regulators are being asked to prosecute more individuals involved in breaking the law at financial institutions by Rep. Barney Frank.

The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee "wrote letters Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder and a number of regulators, just days after DOJ settled a money laundering suit with HSBC for $1.92 billion," writes American Banker's Victoria Finkle.

"I note several instances recently in which administration officials have proceeded civilly against blatant violators of our important financial laws, in part because of the difficulty of proving cases beyond a reasonable doubt, especially where the law may have been somewhat uncertain, but also because of a concern that the criminal conviction - and even indictment - of a major financial institution could have a destabilizing effect," Franks said in the letter to Holder.

Frank also wrote letters to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Elisse Walter, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry.

For the full piece see "Frank Calls For Criminal Prosecution of Banking Crimes" (may require subscription).