WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis M. Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement on the filing of Better Markets’ Comment Letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on its proposed development of an annual survey on consumer trust in banking.
“There is no need for a survey to discover why there is a lack of trust in banking. There will be little trust in banking until bankers stop engaging in reckless conduct like Silicon Valley Bank, stop repeatedly breaking the law like Wall Streets’ biggest banks, and stop charging excessive predatory fees like, well, almost everyone in banking. Moreover, banking regulators suffer from a well-deserved lack of trust as well, again due to the bank failures, bailouts, and contagion just months ago, as well as egregiously lawbreaking at Wells Fargo and so many other banks right under the noses of regulators. A trust survey confirming this would be waste of time and effort, particularly because there are already numerous surveys and studies that clearly show a significant lack of trust.
“While the OCC is right that public trust in the banking system and in the regulators who are supposed to oversee that system is critical, a survey is a grossly misguided and inadequate response. Rather than wasting time and resources on a survey, the OCC (and all banking agencies) must aggressively act with urgency to ensure that the banking system is safe, sound, fair, and not run by a bunch of reckless bankers and lawbreakers. The OCC and the other banking agencies need to enforce the law, revitalize supervision, strengthen capital requirements, ensure workable resolution plans, impose stressful stress tests, stop rubber stamping mergers, and make protecting consumers a priority.
“This is imperative because it is the right thing to do, the law requires it, and so many of America’s community banks are unfairly broad brushed with the untrustworthy reputation of the country’s largest banks. The outsized attention to their repeated appallingly reckless if not criminal conduct too often overshadows the vital role of the country’s thousands of community banks. A cliché to be sure, but they are the lifeblood of America’s towns and Main Streets. The banking system will deserve the trust of the American people when it more reflects the values and role of community banks rather than the megabanks on Wall Street. That will only happen when banking regulators do a better job and thereby earn the trust of the American people.”
You can read the full comment letter here.
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.