Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Volcker: More financial reform needed

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said Thursday that more needs to be done to regulate the financial system before the lessons of the recent crisis are forgotten.

"We must not shrink away from change but accept the need for basic financial reform," said Volcker, currently chairman of President Obama's Economic Advisory Board, in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.

Should the federal government impose special fees on banks in order to recoup some of the bailout funds?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

He said the economy appears to be growing slowly, and that the financial crisis is beginning to seem to some like a "bad dream."

But the magnitude of the crisis showed that the underlying problems are "more fundamental" and require "broad reform" of the financial system, he warned.

The former Fed chairman said the central bank should play a key role in overseeing the financial system. Among his ideas, he said the Fed should have the power to dismantle big banks that pose a systemic risk to the economy.

"The old question (about banks) colloquially described as 'too big to fail' looms larger than ever," Volcker said.

In a response to recent criticism of the Fed, he said the central bank is less subject to political pressure than other regulatory bodies.

"These days, best-selling books remind us that the challenges to that structure, and particularly to the Fed's insulation from political pressure, arise from time to time," Volcker said, referring to a popular book by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

"The sense of anger about the amount of funds required to bail out both institutions and markets is palpable," he added. "But that truly exceptional response to the financial crisis -- drawing on long-dormant emergency powers -- was a properly coordinated decision with the administration, not a misuse of independent authority."

The remarks came on the same day that President Obama called on Congress to tax the largest banks to ensure that U.S. taxpayers don't lose a penny from the federal bailout of the financial, auto and insurance industries over the past year

Volcker said the proposed tax "seems to me to be a not unreasonable response." He said the banks subject to the tax have benefitted from taxpayer aid and "should carry their share of the burden."

The proposed "financial crisis responsibility fee" is aimed at large institutions that received significant federal aid during the height of the crisis, but have since recovered and are now poised to pay tens of billions of dollars in bonuses.

On Wednesday, four top bank chief executives went before a panel to answer questions about the role their institutions played in causing one of the worst financial shocks in a generation.

The CEOs of Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that they made mistakes but didn't realize how bad they were at the time. To top of page

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,821.76 11.44 0.05%
Nasdaq 5,845.31 9.80 0.17%
S&P 500 2,367.34 3.53 0.15%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.07 -2.97%
Data as of 2:31pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.23 -0.35 -1.42%
Spectra Energy Corp 40.68 -0.32 -0.78%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.66 -0.09 -1.57%
Hewlett Packard Ente... 22.96 -1.70 -6.89%
Ford Motor Co 12.47 -0.09 -0.72%
Data as of Feb 24
Sponsors

Sections

Baltimore Orioles executive John Angelos said he would want President Trump to apologize for all the offensive comments he's made before he's invited to throw out the first pitch at Camden Yards. More

A draft of the House Republicans' bill to repeal Obamacare would replace its subsidies with less generous tax credits, increase the amount insurers could charge older Americans and effectively eliminate Medicaid for low-income adults. More

Data Refuge collects federal data about climate change in order to preserve the information and keep it publicly accessible. More