Consumer Group Welcomes Review of Bank Merger Process

Woodstock Institute says Status Quo Harms Low-Income Consumers

Andy Spears

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Following an announcement from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that the bank regulators are taking action to review the current bank merger process, consumer advocates at the Woodstock Institute highlighted the potential benefits of this action.

In a statement, Woodstock Institute said of the move:

During the best of times, the process by which banks are allowed to acquire or merge with other institutions has made it unnecessarily difficult and complicated for consumer protection organizations to assess, comment and engage in the process.

The ease at which the federal bank regulatory agencies approve such transactions has created an unprecedented level of consolidation in the industry, which has disproportionately hurt access to financial services in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.

Woodstock Institute joins other consumer groups, including Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) in welcoming a comprehensive review of current bank merger practices. AFR said of the regulatory announcement:

Americans for Financial Reform welcomes the FDIC’s action on reviewing bank mergers. In the last 15 years, the federal bank regulators have rubber-stamped merger applications. This has led to unprecedented consolidation in the industry which has hurt consumers and small businesses, in the form of bank deserts and decreased lending to small businesses while lining the pockets of the banking executives. We look forward to commenting on ways to strengthen the bank merger guidelines to protect the interest of the communities they are supposed to serve.

Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .