Clinton recommends creative uses for bank fines

Former president suggests earmarking money for infrastructure improvements

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The financial crisis rocked the national economy and affected individuals, businesses and the government alike. As part of the fallout of the financial meltdown, a number of banking institutions have been required to pay fines to the U.S. government, but former President Bill Clinton has a question about those fines.

“Where’s that fine money going?” Clinton asked at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association. “It should be put into an infrastructure bank to build a new American economy,” he went on to suggest.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the country’s six largest banks have racked up more than $100 billion in settlements and legal fees, according to Bloomberg, and J.P. Morgan alone has recently reached a tentative $13 billion settlement with the U.S. government.

Clinton signed into law one of the largest banking overhauls in decades, eliminating the separation between commercial and investment banking. Some financial experts feel that this move allowed for banking institutions to become “too big to fail,” which contributed to the financial meltdown.

In his assessment, Clinton felt that too much capital went into housing, which “created the bubble with the subprime mortgages, and then the securities that were spun out of them.”

The funds coming to the government from fines are substantive, and perhaps using them to invest in roads, communication and other infrastructure necessities would be a wise decision, making something positive out of what was otherwise an unmitigated disaster.


For more on banking regulations, check out the following:

Regulators eyeing trader chat rooms as hot beds of questionable activity

Federal Reserve reveals new stress tests for nation’s largest banks

Fannie Mae sues nine major banks over Libor manipulation

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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