ThinkProgress spoke today with one of the foremost financial reform advocates in Congress, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Brown said that JP Morgan’s trading mess proves banks are not only too big to fail — meaning they are explicitly backed by the government and will be rescued if they blow themselves up — but simply “too big to manage”:
Q: What’s your takeaway from JP Morgan Chase and their trading mess, particularly given that [CEO Jamie] Dimon was one of the most vocal critics of Dodd-Frank?
BROWN: That these banks are not just too big to fail, they’re too big to manage. Jamie Dimon’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s probably a good manager, he’s probably a good CEO. I don’t like his public persona in terms of what he’s done to weaken these regulations and to undercut them. They lost their fights in Congress, now they’re organizing to win them in the regulatory agencies. But I think, if he can’t manage a bank this size, it probably isn’t manageable. I think these banks will be stronger and healthier and probably more profitable if they’re smaller.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker — whose names graces the Volcker Rule — made the same point yesterday, saying, “Maybe this JPMorgan thing is an illustration that these (banks) are really too big to manage…There are so many things going on at these banks.” Brown recently reintroduced legislation that would force the six biggest banks in the nation to shrink. The bill was rejected in 2010 during the debate over Dodd-Frank, but Brown recently told the Financial Times that he feels more optimistic about its chances now.