The Clermont Sun: The five-year Lehman Brothers anniversary

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The Clermont Sun: The five-year Lehman Brothers anniversary

By Senator Sherrod Brown:

As I visit community banks throughout Ohio, I meet community bank executives who tell me about how they are unfairly disadvantaged when competing against Wall Street megabanks. Millions of families and small businesses depend on their community banks for their savings accounts, home mortgages, and business loans. Community banks help create countless jobs and provide safe and reliable financing options to Ohio’s families. We should be supporting our community bankers, not creating an unlevel playing field that favors Wall Street.

That’s why my Republican colleague, Senator David Vitter from Louisiana, and I introduced bipartisan legislation to address this “Too Big to Fail” problem. The Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act (TBTF Act) would ensure that financial institutions have adequate capital to protect against losses. Simply put, the bill would ensure that if Wall Street banks are going to make risky gambles, they do it with their own money. By requiring the biggest banks to have more of their own capital on hand to cover their losses, taxpayers won’t be asked to bail them out, again. The legislation would also limit the government safety net to traditional banking operations, protecting commercial banks rather than risky, investment banking activities. Finally, the TBTF Act would also provide regulatory relief for community banks, allowing them to compete with the mega institutions. Taking the appropriate steps will lead to more competition, increase lending, and provide incentives for banks to do business the right way. Just about the only people who will not benefit from my plan are a few Wall Street executives.

On the five year anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ collapse, we must ensure that Ohio taxpayers are not the safety net for risky bets made on Wall Street. Americans do not want us to wait for another crisis to take action.

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