Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More of what one can learn from Wiki

But not from the Columbia Journalism review.  From a GAO report (cited in the Wikipedia article linked to in the previous post) to congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass) in 1988;
In recent years, commercial banks have found ways to overcome some of the Glass-Steagall restrictions and, similarly, nonbanking firms have found ways to undertake some, but not all, banking activities.  ....
Coming to grips with the question of Glass-Steagall repeal represents an opportunity to systematically address changes in legal and regulatory structures that are needed to better reflect the realities of the financial marketplace.
....Over the past several years, some banks have acquired substantially expanded powers.  The expansion of activities has been the result of these banks (1) undertaking activities that were not explicitly prohibited or were sustained as legal by the courts, (2) introducing new products closely resembling securities, and (3) being given new powers by the regulators.  In addition some states have granted significant securities powers to state-chartered banks that are not Federal Reserve members.
...not all banks shared equally the opportunity to become involved.  Adopting ways to avoid the Glass-Steagall restrictions was often expensive, so only a limited number of non-banking firms had been able to enter the banking or thrift industries by establishing separate companies such as the nonbank bank or unitary thrift holding company.  Moreover, the determining factor that has enabled banks and securities firms to expand into each others' activities has been their ability to spot and take advantage of technical exceptions to the generally strict separation of commercial and investment banking activity required under the Glass-Steagall Act.
....As indicated, the Glass-Steagall laws have already been eroded and erosion is likely to continue in the future.
That's over a decade before Gramm, Leach Bliley was passed in to law and signed by Bill Clinton in 1999. 

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