WASHINGTON, May 20 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after five big banks agreed to pay more than $5 billion and plead guilty to crimes:
“Despite weak financial regulatory systems around the world, it seems that every week we hear about another multi-billion scandal involving a major financial institution. Today, we learn that JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and other huge banks were fined $5 billion for rigging interest rates and manipulating currency exchanges. Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since 2009, huge financial institutions have paid $176 billion in fines and settlement payments for fraudulent and unscrupulous activities. The reality is that seven years after too-big-to-fail banks crashed the economy, fraud still appears to be the business model on Wall Street.
“Today, the six largest financial institutions have nearly $10 trillion in assets, equal to nearly 60 percent of our gross domestic product. They control more than two-thirds of the credit card market and one-third of the mortgages. These huge institutions are not only involved in fraudulent activities, they have grown even larger and more powerful since the Wall Street crash of 2008. They are not only an ongoing threat to taxpayers, but a burden on our entire economy.
“In my view, the only effective way of dealing with theses enormous financial institutions is to break them up. Today’s news is just another example of why these too big to fail banks are too big to exist.”