Bigger Banks, Riskier Banks

Bigger Banks, Riskier Banks

January 28, 2010
|

After trillions of dollars in taxpayer funds, cheap loans and other forms of support, the biggest banks are bigger and more complex than ever.

The crisis was widely blamed on the eager promotion by the nation's biggest banks of overcomplicated, deceptively advertised loans and securities. Experts and political leaders of both parties deplored the ability of profit-seeking insiders at a handful of "Too Big to Fail" institutions to bring the financial system to the edge of collapse, necessitating a massive bailout and triggering the worst recession since the 1930s.

Nevertheless, after trillions of dollars in taxpayer funds, cheap loans and other forms of direct and indirect support, the biggest banks are bigger and more complex than ever; and for all the talk of newfound caution and tougher regulation, their recent record reveals an undiminished commitment to the kind of risky practices that inflate short-term profits when they go right but hold the potential to decimate the economy when they go wrong.