- Glass-Steagall Act
The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 established the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation(FDIC) in the United Statesand included banking reforms, some of which were designed to control speculation. [cite web |url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html |title=Frontline: The Wall Street Fix: Mr. Weill Goes to Washington: The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall |accessdate=2008-10-08 |work=www.pbs.org |publisher= PBS|date=2003-05-08 ] Some provisions such as Regulation Q, which allowed the Federal Reserve to regulate interest rates in savings accounts, were repealed by the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Actof 1980. Provisions that prohibit a bank holding companyfrom owning other financial companies were repealed on November 12, 1999, by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which passed in Congress with a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives, before being sent to conference committee; the final bipartisan bill (Senate: 90-8-1, House: 362-57-15) was signed by President Bill Clinton. [cite web
url = http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/workpaper/wp2000-5.pdf
title = The Repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Advent of Broad Banking] [cite web
url = http://banking.senate.gov/prel99/1112gbl.htm
title = GRAMM'S STATEMENT AT SIGNING CEREMONY FOR GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT ]
Senator Glass, co-sponsor of the bill that became the Glass-Steagall Act, and Senator Robinson:
Mr. Glass: Here [section 21] we prohibit the large private banks whose chief business is investment business, from receiving deposits. We separate them from the deposit banking business.
Mr. Robinson of Arkansas: That means if they wish to receive deposits they must have separate institutions for that purpose?
Mr. Glass: Yes.
The Court also rejected the argument that a bank and its holding company should be treated as a single entity for the purposes of sections 16 and 21, stating that the structure of the Glass-Steagall Act itself indicates the contrary. Id. at n. 24.
url = http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/5000-1900.html
title = FDIC Statement of Policy on the Applicability of the Glass-Steagall Act to Securities Activities of Subsidiaries of Insured Member Banks]
Two separate United States laws are known as the Glass-Steagall Act. The Acts (Glass & Steagall) were both reactions of the U.S. government to cope with the collapse of a large portion of the American commercial banking system in early 1933. While many economic histories attribute the collapse to the economic problems which followed the Stock Market Crash of 1929 it is clear that the U.S. banking collapse of 1933, which came three and a half years later, were only partially the result of the stock market collapse in October 1929.
The Republican Hoover administration had lost the November 1932 election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but his administration did not take office until March 1933. The lame duck Hoover Administration and the incoming Roosevelt Administration could not, or would not, coordinate actions to stop the run on banks affiliated with the Henry Ford family that began in Detroit, Michigan, in January 1933. The Federal Reserve chairman Eugene Meyer was equally ineffectual.
Both bills were sponsored by Democratic Senator
Carter Glassof Lynchburg, Virginia, a former Secretary of the Treasury, and Democratic Congressman Henry B. Steagallof Alabama, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency.
Congressional Research Service Summary:
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, bankers and brokers were sometimes indistinguishable. Then, in the Great Depression after 1929, Congress examined the mixing of the “commercial” and “investment” banking industries that occurred in the 1920s. Hearings revealed conflicts of interest and fraud in some banking institutions’ securities activities. A formidable barrier to the mixing of these activities was then set up by the Glass Steagall Act. [http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/permalink/meta-crs-9065:1]
First Glass-Steagall Act
The first Glass-Steagall Act was the first time currency (non-specie, paper currency etc.) was permitted to be allocated for the federal reserve.
Second Glass-Steagall Act
The second Glass-Steagall Act, passed on
16 June 1933, and officially named the Banking Act of 1933, introduced the separation of bank types according to their business (commercial and investment banking), and it founded the Federal Deposit Insurance Company for insuring bank deposits.Fact|date=July 2007
Literature in economics usually refers to this simply as the Glass-Steagall Act, since it had a stronger impact on US banking regulation.Fact|date=July 2007
Impact on other countries
The Glass-Steagall Act has had influence on the financial systems of other areas such as
Chinawhich maintains a separation between commercial banking and the securities industries. [Citation
title=Developing Institutional Investors in the People's Republic of China
place=paragraph 24] [Citation
title=The WTO and China's Financial System
Repeal of the Act
Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Actpassed in 1980, the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Actderegulating the Savings and Loan industry in 1982, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Actin 1999.
The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by
Phil Gramm(R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA) in 1999. The bills were passed by a 54-44 vote along party lines with Republican support in the Senate [Citation | title = On Passage of the Bill (S.900 as amended ) | url = http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=106&session=1&vote=00105 | accessdate = 2008-06-19] and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives [Citation | title = On Agreeing to the Conference Report - Financial Services Modernization Act | url = http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1999/roll276.xml | accessdate = 2008-06-19] . Nov 4, 1999: After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bipartisan bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8-1 and in the House: 362-57-15. Without forcing a veto vote, this bipartisan, veto proof legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clintonon November 12, 1999. [http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s106-900#votes]
The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act. [http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/permalink/meta-crs-9065:1]
The repeal enabled commercial lenders such as
Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securitiesand collateralized debt obligationsand establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities. [cite journal|author=Barth et al|title=Policy Watch: The Repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Advent of Broad Banking|year=2000|journal= Journal of Economic Perspectives|pages=191-204|volume=14|issue=2|url=http://www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/workpaper/wp2000-5.pdf] Citigroup played a major part in the repeal. Then called Citicorp, the company merged with Travelers Insurance company the year before using loopholes in Glass-Steagall that allowed for temporary exemptions. With lobbying led by Roger Levy, the "finance, insurance and real estate industries together are regularly the largest campaign contributors and biggest spenders on lobbying of all business sectors [in 1999] . They laid out more than $200 million for lobbying in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics..." These industries succeeded in their two decades long effort to repeal the act. [Citation
The argument for preserving Glass-Steagall (as written in 1987):
1. Conflicts of interest characterize the granting of credit – lending – and the use of credit – investing – by the same entity, which led to abuses that originally produced the Act
2. Depository institutions possess enormous financial power, by virtue of their control of other people’s money; its extent must be limited to ensure soundness and competition in the market for funds, whether loans or investments.
3. Securities activities can be risky, leading to enormous losses. Such losses could threaten the integrity of deposits. In turn, the Government insures deposits and could be required to pay large sums if depository institutions were to collapse as the result of securities losses.
4. Depository institutions are supposed to be managed to limit risk. Their managers thus may not be conditioned to operate prudently in more speculative securities businesses. An example is the crash of real estate investment trusts sponsored by bank holding companies (in the 1970s and 1980s).
The argument against preserving the Act (as written in 1987):
1. Depository institutions will now operate in “deregulated” financial markets in which distinctions between loans, securities, and deposits are not well drawn. They are losing market shares to securities firms that are not so strictly regulated, and to foreign financial institutions operating without much restriction from the Act.
2. Conflicts of interest can be prevented by enforcing legislation against them, and by separating the lending and credit functions through forming distinctly separate subsidiaries of financial firms.
3. The securities activities that depository institutions are seeking are both low-risk by their very nature, and would reduce the total risk of organizations offering them – by diversification.
4. In much of the rest of the world, depository institutions operate simultaneously and successfully in both banking and securities markets. Lessons learned from their experience can be applied to our national financial structure and regulation. [http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/permalink/meta-crs-9065:1]
Economic crisis of 2008
* [http://law.jrank.org/pages/7165/Glass-Steagall-Act.html Glass-Steagall Act - Further Readings]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html On the systematic dismemberment of the Act from PBS Frontline]
* [http://www.altruists.org/f178 Back to the Twenties Through the Looking Glass - Steagall] Hour long Wizards of Money MP3 explaining the Glass-Steagall Act, background to it and impact of it.
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