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10 Years Later, Looking at Repeal of Glass-Steagall

New York Times

10 years later, the end of Glass-Steagall has been blamed by some for many of the problems that led to last fall's financial crisis. While the majority of problems that occurred centered mostly on the pure-play investment banks like Lehman Brothers, the huge banks born out of the revocation of Glass-Steagall, especially Citigroup, and the insurance companies that were allowed to deal in securities, like the American International Group, would not have run into trouble had the law still been in place.

"Commercial banks played a crucial role as buyers and sellers of mortgage-backed securities, credit-default swaps and other explosive financial derivatives," Demos, a nonpartisan public policy and research organization, wrote in a report discussing the problems it said were caused by the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

"Without the watering down and ultimate repeal of Glass-Steagall, the banks would have been barred from most of these activities," Demos said. "The market and appetite for derivatives would then have been far smaller, and Washington might not have felt a need to rescue the institutional victims."