Despite their protests that more and more deregulation is needed to ensure their strength, it was reported that for the first time since the years before the 2008 financial crisis, there was not a single bank failure in the United States last year.
Reaffirming the overall strength of the financial system, the absence of any bank failures last year stands in contrast to 2010, when postcrisis failures reached a peak of 157. Indeed, one of the main reasons for the strong performance was the post-crisis financial protection rules that have bolstered capital and liquidity requirements, thus making banks comparatively safer.
All of this though should be taken with a grain of salt, as many of the critical financial protection rules put in place to strengthen our financial system have either been weakened or eliminated by the Trump administration. So, while the financial system and the banks appear to be strong on the surface, the pillars providing that strength are broadly and quickly being eroded.
The real test will come this year and the next year as more and more elements of S. 2155, the bank deregulation bill passed in the middle of 2017, are put in place. As the rules get weaker, thanks to this legislation and the deregulatory agenda of Trump officials, the financial system they are supposed to protect will undoubtedly start to show signs of stress and/or instability. By then, it’ll be too late, and the country may find itself plunging into another financial crisis while too many are still recovering from the last one.