Majority of Americans Agree: Big Banks Need to Break Up

Sanders introducing 'too big to exist' legislation Wednesday.

Majority of Americans Agree: Big Banks Need to Break Up

“If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders

A majority of Americans believe that banks have gotten far too big, according to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll.

According to the poll, sixty-one percent said that financial institutions "have become too large and powerful," while 17 percent disagreed.

43% said that current federal regulations on banks and other financial institutions don't go far enough to regulate the big banks, while 15% thought they did enough.

38% were in favor of a law "that would cap the size of banks in the US and force the largest banks to break into smaller units," while 22% were opposed.

Last week Senator Bernie Sanders (I. Vt.) introduced a bill to do just that, stating, "If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist."

Sanders said his legislation would break up banks "that have grown so big that the Justice Department has not pursued prosecutions for fear an indictment would harm the financial system."

The 10 largest banks in the United States are currently bigger than before the taxpayer bailout following the 2008 financial crisis.

According to Sanders, the six largest financial institutions in this country (J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) today equal to about two-thirds of the nation's gross domestic product, and issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards, over half of all mortgages, control 95 percent of all derivatives held in financial institutions and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits in the United States.

"If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist," Sanders said. "No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of American jobs or to our nation's economic well-being."

According to the Huffington Post, the majority of Americans share the same sentiments and fear another financial meltdown: "75 percent of respondents said that it's either very or somewhat likely that the country could have another financial crisis in the near future. Only 12 percent said it was not very likely, and only 2 percent said it was not at all likely."


Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.