Bank Failures Rise; Banks Shuttered at a Faster Rate in 2010 Than in 2008 and 2009; Financial “Reform” Adds to Banks’ Woes

“This past Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) shuttered another four US banks,” notes Neil Hrab in the Washington Examiner. “That makes 90 bank failures so far in 2010.  If bank failures continue at the same rate for the rest of 2010, you can expect perhaps 200 in total to fail this year. That would represent a jump over 2009, when the FDIC closed 140 failed banks.  In 2008, just 25 US banks were closed by the FDIC. (To keep the number of failures in perspective, we need to remember that the US has about 8,000 banks in total.)

The so-called financial “reform” bill that now looks certain to pass Congress will make matters worse.  It will impose useless, burdensome regulations on banks, while doing nothing to prevent another financial crisis.  The bill “imposes race and gender employment quotas on the financial industry–at a time the job market is stalling and economic growth is slowing,” writes economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth in the Washington Examiner. Its “Section 342 states that race and gender employment ratios must be observed by all government agencies that regulate the financial sector, as well as private financial institutions that do business with the government.”   This unconstitutional requirement is the brainchild of Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who earlier praised the Los Angeles race riots that destroyed scores of Korean-owned businesses as an “uprising” against injustice.  Waters once told a CEO in a public congressional hearing, “This liberal will be all about socializing . . . .uh, uh . . . would be about, basically, taking over and the government running all of your companies.”

That bill contains little “reform,” reinforcing the very features of the status quo that spawned the financial crisis.  Earlier, congressional Democrats blocked reform of the corrupt government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Obama administration lifted a $400 billion limit on bailing them out.  (Even though administration officials admitted that they were at the “core” of “what went wrong” in our financial system.)  At the direction of the Obama administration, Freddie Mac ran up more than $30 billion in losses to bail out mortgage borrowers, some of whom have high incomes.  Federal regulators sought to make Freddie Mac hide the resulting losses from the SEC and the public.

Meanwhile, the administration has backed a new tax on productive private banks that did not receive bailouts at taxpayers’ expense.

Government pressure on banks to make loans in economically-depressed neighborhoods was one of the causes of the mortgage crisis.  That pressure will increase under the financial “reform” legislation.  Legislators approved Obama’s proposal to create a new consumer “protection” agency. “The agency would be in charge of enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that prods banks to make loans in low-income communities.” It would do so with little regard for banks’ financial safety and soundness, even though the Community Reinvestment Act was a contributor to the financial crisis.