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July 1, 2015

Better Markets Statement as Big Banks File Living Wills

Washington, D.C. – Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued this statement as Wall Street’s biggest banks file their so-called “living wills” today with the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). These resolution plans are required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to ensure that the too-big-to-fail banks can either be restructured or dissolved through bankruptcy without any taxpayer-funded bailouts.

“The threat from the handful of Wall Street’s dangerous too-big-to-fail banks will not end until they are resolvable in bankruptcy, which is why the law requires those banks to have credible living wills. But, those gigantic banks don’t want to play by the same rules as every other company in America and file bankruptcy when they fail. Like 2008, they want to continue their reckless gambling and force taxpayers to bail them out so they don’t bear the consequences of their irresponsible if not illegal conduct. That was made clear last year when they submitted living wills that were so grossly deficient that the federal regulators at the FDIC and the Fed flunked all 11 banks on their living wills test.

At that time, federal regulators made clear the key requirements these plans must address to ensure the American people aren’t forced to bail out Wall Street again. Putting their own credibility on the line, the regulators publicly detailed the actions these banks must take to avoid much stronger regulatory actions, including ordering these too-big-to-fail banks to dispose of business lines and activities. Those key requirements are to:

  • simplify their legal structures and re-organize their business lines to improve their resolvability;

  • develop holding company structures that support resolvability;

  • amend derivatives contracts to stay the early termination rights of counterparties in insolvency proceedings;

  • ensure the continuity of critical operations and core business lines throughout the resolution process; and

  • demonstrate they had the operational capability for resolution, including the ability to produce reliable information in a timely manner.

Regulators must hold these most dangerous too-big-to-fail banks to the public standards they set last year and use every legal avenue available to force Wall Street to comply with the law and ensure that there will be no more taxpayer bailouts. The public already rescued our economy from the brink during the 2008 financial crash, and they shouldn’t be forced to bear the costs of Wall Street’s gambling ever again.”


Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts. To learn more, visit

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