Published on
Common Dreams

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

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Sanders introducing 'too big to exist' legislation Wednesday.

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."


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Share This Article

More in: