On Wednesday, Dan Tarullo, a governor of the Federal Reserve and distinguished law school professor, dismissed breaking up big banks as “more a provocative idea than a proposal” and instead put almost all his eggs in the “creation by Congress of a special resolution procedure for systemically important financial firms”. He stressed: “We are hopeful that Congress will, in its legislative response to the crisis, include a resolution mechanism and an extension of regulation to all systemically important financial institutions” (full speech).
This put him strikingly at odds with Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, who said Tuesday night, quite bluntly,
“There are those who claim that such proposals [involving breaking up the largest banks] are impractical. It is hard to see why. Existing prudential regulation makes distinctions between different types of banking activities when determining capital requirements. What does seem impractical, however, are the current arrangements. Anyone who proposed giving government guarantees to retail depositors and other creditors, and then suggested that such funding could be used to finance highly risky and speculative activities, would be thought rather unworldly. But that is where we now are.” Continue reading