What happens when banks break the law?

The Boston Globe has a little blurb about a letter that Senator Warren sent to the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the OCC. The letter is short but includes some important information:

According to a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the crisis cost the United States up to $14 trillion in lost economic productivity. While we must continue working to create jobs and accelerate our economic recovery, we also must look back to ensure that those who engaged in illegal activity during the crisis and its aftermath are held accountable.

$14 trillion is a lot of money and yet all too few banks were held criminally responsible–many people became rich using methods that helped to crash the economy. That’s why the information that she requests is extremely important:

1.       The number of individuals your agency has charged criminally, including the number of senior officials you have charged;
2.       The number of criminal convictions your agency has obtained;
3.       The number of prison sentences your agency has secured;
4.       The number of individuals your agency has charged civilly, including the number of senior officers you have charged;
5.       The number of individuals your agency has suspended or permanently banned from working in the financial industry or elsewhere; and
6.       The total amount of funds your agency has obtained through civil judgment or orders of restitution.

If a bank or an individual only has too pay a fine without admitting guilt, then that won’t change their behavior because the individuals still make money–lots of money. So, this is a very important move by Senator Warren.

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