Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker staunchly defends President Obama’s bank reform proposals.
The White House adviser played a strong role in drafting the plan.
Obama has proposed to limit the size of commercial banks and prohibit them from proprietary trading and from owning private equity and hedge funds.
“No one can reasonably contest the need for such reform, in the United States and in other countries,” Volcker wrote in The New York Times.
“Adding further layers of risk to the inherent risks of essential commercial bank functions doesn’t make sense, not when those risks arise from more speculative activities far better suited for other areas of the financial markets.”
The restrictions on trading, private equity and hedge funds only would apply to about five banks, Volcker says.
“Apart from the risks inherent in these activities, they also present virtually insolvable conflicts of interest with customer relationships.”
And private equity and hedge funds have proven they can thrive without being owned by banks, Volcker notes.
He also says the U.S. should cooperate with other nations to create global bank regulations that would include Obama’s plan.
Others agree with Volcker, pointing out that without coordinated global regulation, banks will simply locate themselves in countries with the most lax rules.
"If there was a broad consensus, . . . that could stop this race to the bottom which got us into the mess we're in now," Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz told CNBC.
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