Break Up the Banks: By the Numbers

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Break Up the Banks: By the Numbers

Huffington Post – Any time in the next couple days, the Senate may consider a measure, sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Ted Kaufman, D-Delaware, to break up the biggest banks. It's a vital step to strengthening the economy and rescuing our democracy.

It's past time to break up the big banks. They take on too much risk and endanger the financial system. They benefit from unfair subsidies and the assurance that the government will bail them out in times of trouble. They have far too much political influence and threaten our democracy.

Evidence:

1. 45.23, 16.56, 65.61, 36.42

Industry concentration has soared over the last quarter century. From 1993 to 2009, according to data compiled by Iren Levina, Gerald Epstein and James Crotty of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst the top five commercial banks went from having 16.56 of total bank assets to 45.23 — a jump of almost three times. The top five investment banks in 2007 had 65.61 percent of overall investment banking revenue, up from 36.43 in 1993.

Thanks to a series of shotgun mergers amidst the worst of the financial crisis, the top banks actually have a much greater share of banking assets than they did before the crash.

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