The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act aimed to put an end to “too big to fail” and bring stability to the financial markets. With aspects of the law now in jeopardy following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we examine its impact.
Even bigger: The U.S. shed 1,261 banks since the start of 2010, while the number of banks with $15 billion or more in assets has increased 41%. Banks with less than $1 billion dropped 26%. Total deposits increased 30% over the period.
Profitability down: Bank profits recovered from the financial crisis, but the capital restrictions of the Volcker rule and low rates have kept banks from returning to their pre-crisis profitability. Added fees have done little to offset these losses. Alternatively, banks’ profits have been less volatile.
Debt dilemma: The Volcker rule also stripped banks of their role as corporate-bond market-makers. While trading volume is at new highs, interest rates have made debt cheap and out-
standing debt is up as well, and at a rate greater than volume can keep pace with.
Trading benefits: As supply increases and demand falls, bid/ask spreads would be expected to rise. However, the rise of electronic trading platforms has driven down traders’ expenses. The growing influence of algorithmic trading has also improved price discovery and added transparency.
Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Bloomberg LP; MarketAxess; Bank for International Settlements; Securities Industry and Financial Markets Assocation; FINRA Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine
Compiled and designed by Charles McGrath and Gregg A. Runburg