While GameStop’s meteoric rise fueled by the Reddit Revolution and Robinhood’s retail army is capturing headlines, the biggest Wall Street banks get little attention as they continue a much more shocking, but less visible crime spree.
This is the premise of an opinion piece by President and CEO Dennis Kelleher which recently ran in Law360 and in its many newsletters. In the op-ed, Dennis wrote that there is an ongoing and increasing crime spree in finance, noting that Wall Street’s six largest banks—Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo—have been subject to almost 400 major legal actions and have paid almost $200 billion in fines and settlements during the last 20-plus years.
That proves that banks paying big fines will not stop crime.
The solution, Dennis writes, is holding individual bankers, including supervisors and executives, accountable and ramping up penalties against the banks so fines are more than just a cost of doing business. The leadership question, he writes, is whether President Biden’s nominees for Attorney General and the Chair of the SEC are going to chase fleeting headlines of big, but meaningless settlements or actually punish and deter the widespread lawbreaking by the country’s premier financial institutions.
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