The Glass-Steagall Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in as the Banking Act, which prohibited commercial banks from participating in. The case for reviving the Glass-Steagall Act has surprising support across the political spectrum. Here’s why we should listen. The Glass-Steagall Act effectively separated commercial banking from investment banking and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, among other.

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The Glass—Steagall legislation describes four provisions of the U. A Banking Act of separating commercial and investment banking. The separation of commercial and investment banking prevented securities firms and investment banks from taking deposits, and commercial Federal Reserve member banks from:. Starting in the early s, federal banking regulators’ interpretations of the Act permitted commercial banksand especially commercial bank affiliates, to engage in an expanding list and volume of securities activities.

The case for Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law we need today

By that time, many commentators argued Glass—Steagall was already “dead”. Some commentators have stated that the GLBA’s repeal of the affiliation restrictions of the Glass—Steagall Act was an important cause of the financial crisis of — Nobel Prize in Economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz argued that the effect of the repeal was “indirect”: Steagall of Alabama who had been in the House for the preceding 17 years.

Between and Senator Carter Glass D-VA introduced several versions of a bill known in each version as the Glass bill to regulate or prohibit the combination of commercial and investment banking and to establish other reforms except deposit insurance similar to the final provisions of the Banking Act. Glass originally introduced his banking reform bill in January It received extensive critiques and comments from bankers, economists, and the Federal Reserve Board.

It passed the Senate in Februarybut the House adjourned before coming to a decision. The Senate passed a version of the Glass bill that would have required commercial banks to eliminate their securities affiliates. The final Glass—Steagall provisions contained in the Banking Act reduced from five years to one year the period in which commercial banks were required to eliminate such affiliations.

Many accounts of the Act identify the Pecora Investigation as important in leading to the Act, particularly its Glass—Steagall provisions, becoming law. This source states that Senator Glass proposed many versions of his bill to Congress known as the Glass Bills in the two years prior to the Glass—Steagall Act being passed. It also includes how the deposit insurance provisions of the bill were very controversial at the time, which almost led to the rejection of the bill once again.

The previous Glass Bills before the final revision all had similar goals and brought up the same objectives which were to separate commercial from investment banking, bring more banking activities under Federal Reserve supervision and to allow branch banking.

In May Steagall’s addition of allowing state chartered banks to receive federal deposit insurance and shortening the time in glass-zteagall banks needed to eliminate securities affiliates to one year was known as the driving force of what helped the Glass—Steagall act to be signed into law. The Glass—Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking was in four sections of the Banking Act sections 16, 20, 21, and Together, they prevented commercial Federal Reserve member banks from:.


The law gave banks one year after the law was passed on June 16, to decide whether they would be a commercial bank or an investment bank. Only 10 glaxs-steagall of a commercial bank’s income could stem from securities.

One exception to this rule was that commercial glass-steagalp could underwrite government-issued bonds. There were several glass-teagall that regulators and financial firms were able to exploit during the lifetime of Glass—Steagall restrictions.

Aside from the Section 21 prohibition on securities firms taking deposits, neither savings and loans nor state-chartered banks that did not belong to the Federal Reserve System were restricted by Glass—Steagall. Glass—Steagall also did not prevent securities firms from owning such institutions. While permitting affiliations between securities firms and companies other than Federal Reserve member banks, Glass—Steagall distinguished between what a Federal Reserve member bank could do directly and what an affiliate could do.

Whereas a Federal Reserve member bank could not buy, sell, underwrite, or deal in any security except as specifically permitted by Section 16, such a bank could affiliate with a company so long as that company was not “engaged principally” in such activities. Starting inglass-stteagall Federal Reserve Board interpreted this to mean a member bank could affiliate with a securities firm so long as that firm was not “engaged principally” in securities activities prohibited for a bank by Section By the time the GLBA repealed the Glass—Steagall affiliation restrictions, the Federal Reserve Board had interpreted this “loophole” in those restrictions to mean a banking company Citigroup, as owner of Citibank could acquire one of the world’s largest securities firms Salomon Smith Barney.

By defining commercial banks as banks that take in deposits and make loans and investment banks as banks that let and deal with securities the Glass—Steagall act explained the separation of banks glasz-steagall stating that commercial banks could not deal with securities and investment banks could not own commercial banks or have close connections with them.

With the exception of commercial banks being allowed to underwrite government-issued bonds, commercial glasss-teagall could only have ten percent lej their income come from securities. The Glass—Steagall Legislation page specifies that only Federal Reserve member banks were affected by the provisions which according to secondary sources the act “applied direct prohibitions to the activities of certain commercial banks”. It was not until that the separation of commercial banking and investment banking was considered controversial.

There was a belief that the separation would lead to a healthier financial system.

Glass–Steagall legislation – Wikipedia

In the s the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued aggressive interpretations of Glass—Steagall to permit national banks to engage in certain securities activities. Although most of these interpretations were overturned by court decisions, by the late s bank regulators began issuing Glass—Steagall interpretations that were upheld by courts and that permitted banks and their affiliates to engage in an increasing variety of securities activities.

Starting in the s banks and non-banks developed financial products that blurred the distinction between banking and securities products, as they increasingly competed with each other.

Separately, starting in the s, Congress debated bills to repeal Glass—Steagall’s affiliation provisions Sections 20 and Eight days later, President Bill Clinton signed it into law. After the financial crisis of —some commentators argued that the repeal of Sections 20 and 32 had played an important role in leading to the housing bubble and financial crisis. Economics Nobel prize laureate Joseph Stiglitzfor instance, argued that “[w]hen repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, the investment-bank culture came out on top”, and banks which had previously been managed conservatively turned to riskier investments to increase their returns.


Other commentators believed that these banking changes had no effect, and the financial crisis would have happened the same way if the regulations had still been in force. Whitefor instance, noted that “it was not [commercial banks’] investment banking activities, such as underwriting and dealing in securities, that did them in”.

At the time of the repeal, most commentators believed it would be harmless. Because the Federal Reserve’s interpretations of the act had already weakened restrictions previously in place, commentators did not find much significance in the repeal, especially of sections 20 and More significant changes had occurred during the s when commercial banking firms had gained a significant role in securities markets through “Section 20 affiliates”.

Both in the United States and elsewhere, banking reforms have been proposed that refer to Glass—Steagall principles. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about four specific provisions of the Banking Act ofwhich is also called the Glass—Steagall Act.

For the earlier piece of economic legislation, see Glass—Steagall Act of Decline of the Glass—Steagall Act. Glass—Steagall in post-financial crisis reform debate.

Glass–Steagall legislation

Lockner and Hanschep. Transcript, Part 4, quoted as “The Glass—Steagall law is no longer appropriate—” “. April 24 and May 1, ; encore performance July 3, Retrieved October 8, NewswireNovember 12,It is true that glass-steagalll Glass-Steagall law is no longer appropriate to the economy in which we lived.

It worked pretty well for the industrial economy, which was highly organized, much more centralized and much more nationalized than the one in which we operate today. But the world is very different.

Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act – Wikipedia

Stiglitz on capitalist fools”. A Bridge Too Far? Or Not Far Enough? Kelly IIIp. Burnsp Cleveland and Huertaspp. The New York Times.

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What could we lose? Saunders, Anthony; Walter, Ingo, eds.

Financial System Design ReconsideredChicago: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks”, Explorations in Economic History23 1: