Big fish eating little fish Source: Shutterstock

The financial pages have been awash recently with news of partisan bickering among regulators over the process for review of prospective bank mergers. Attention to this issue could not come at a better time, as the bank merger review process is in dire need of reform.

Despite the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which was meant to reduce systemic risk and place limits on “too big to fail” banks, consolidation in the banking industry has continued unabated. There were 1,616 fewer banking institutions in 2020 as compared to 2010, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Credit unions and other community-oriented financial institutions have borne the brunt of the bloodletting. This market consolidation has been particularly detrimental to retail consumers in underserved communities and small businesses. The time is right for bank regulators to put the brakes on unchecked bank consolidation.

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