September 12, 2013

Senator Warren Questions Progress Ending Too Big to Fail

Advocates for Additional Measures in Remarks on Five Year Anniversary of Financial Crisis

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren today addressed Better Markets and George Washington Law School's Center for Law, Economics, and Finance in a speech on the five year anniversary of the financial crisis. In her remarks, the senator questioned the adequacy of steps taken to end ‘Too Big to Fail' and the effectiveness of regulatory agencies' oversight to deter future crises, noting that the four biggest banks are thirty percent larger than they were five years ago and the five largest banks currently hold more than half of the total banking assets in the country.

"There are many who say, "Sure, Too Big to Fail isn't over yet, but Congress should wait to act further because the agencies still have to issue a bunch of Dodd-Frank's required rules," said Senator Warren. "True, there are rules left to be written, but that's because the agencies have missed more than 60 percent of Dodd-Frank's rulemaking deadlines. I don't understand the logic. Since when does Congress set deadlines, watch regulators miss most of them, and then take that failure as a reason not to act? I thought that if the regulators failed, it was time for Congress to step in. That's what oversight means. And that's certainly a principle that would have served our country well prior to the crisis."

The Senator recognized major steps taken to address catalysts of the financial crisis, such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and applauded Treasury Secretary Jack Lew for setting a timeline by which we should have ended ‘Too Big to Fail' or need to consider new options. She also advocated for additional measures to protect consumers and provide stability to the financial system, such as the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to separate traditional depository banks from risker financial institutions and help wring risk out of the system, and turning up the heat on regulators to enforce the rules and hold accountable those who break them.

In today's speech, Senator Warren said, "We should not accept a financial system that allows the biggest banks to emerge from a crisis in record-setting shape while ordinary Americans continue to struggle. And we should not accept a regulatory system that is so besieged by lobbyists for the big banks that it takes years to deliver rules and then the rules that are delivered are often watered-down and ineffective." She continued, "I am confident David can beat Goliath on Too Big to Fail. We just have to pick up the slingshot again."

Visit our website for Senator Warren's full remarks as prepared for delivery.