“What I want to do is get banking back where it ought to be — and that is boring,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning.
“Banking should not be an industry that attracts risk-takers,” said Warren, who has authored or sponsored three new bills on bank oversight since the bankruptcy of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank this month.
“Banking is supposed to be there for putting your money in, and you can count on it’s going to be there, and that’s true if you’re a family, that’s true if you’re a small business,” Warren said.
The first of the three bills Warren is proposing would reverse a Trump-era bill that weakened regulation of medium-sized banks. The second would create a new inspector general at the Federal Reserve, and the third would disallow executives at publicly traded companies from selling stock options for three years.
“What we want to do is align the incentives,” Warren said. “I have a bipartisan bill for claw backs, and the whole idea is to say to these CEOs, ‘Hey, if you load this bank up on risk and the bank explodes, you’re going to lose that fancy bonus. You’re going to lose that big salary. You’re going to lose those stock options.’”
Warren claimed that the banking turmoil problems started under the Trump administration, fueled by regional and mid-sized bank CEOs — including Silicon Valley Bank’s own chief — lobbying Congress. In the years following, Warren said, profits at these banks surged.
During a hearing this week, Warren pressed Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Oversight Michael Barr on how the Fed permitted SVB and Signature, which largely served cryptocurrency customers, to collapse practically overnight.
Friday on CNBC, Warren said, “I really want to say to bank CEOs, if you’re that kind of guy or gal who wants to roll those dice and take big risks — don’t go into banking. “Banking is about steady profits. Banks should absolutely be able to make profits, but when banks load up on risks … they put our whole economy at risk.”
“You’ve got to look at everything that broke here,” Warren continued. “We permitted the regulators to take their eye off the ball. Banking is a regulated industry for a reason because of its impact on the rest of the economy.”
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