In an interview with Bloomberg news, President Donald Trump said he was looking at the possibility of reviving the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law separating consumer lending and investment banking.
“I’m looking at that right now,” Trump said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “There’s some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we’re going to look at that.”
Trump Advisor Agrees
This is not the first time Trump administration officials have floated talk of brining back Glass-Steagall. In early April, a top Trump advisors stunned markets by announcing that he would support enacting legislature that would force investment banks to split from their lending operations, thus ensuring "too big to fail" institutions do not produce an economic calamity like the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Former-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) executive Gary Cohn told legislators that he would like to enact a revised version of Glass-Steagall. The segregation of consumer lending and investment banking theoretically protected both sides of banking from contagion, in which a sudden loss in one of the banks would not result in worthless assets on the other bank's operations.
That rule was overturned by President William J. Clinton during a Republican-led Senate towards the end of his term, and some have argued that the repeal of this statute was a significant, if not primary, contributor to the subprime mortgage crisis.
A Man with a Glass-Steagall Plan
According to Cohn's plan, investment banks would spin off consumer-lending operations through a forced downsizing that would make all major American investment banks larger. Investment banks have previously criticized calls to bring back the regulation, arguing that forcing banks to downsize would make them less internationally competitive.
While several Republicans and Democrats since 2008 have argued that the law should be reinstated, President Trump was widely expected to lower regulations on investment banks and financial firms more broadly. That enthusiasm for deregulation helped the financial services sector see a substantial bull run, driving investment bank stocks up over 40 percent in some cases.