Sept. 6, 2018

On the 10-Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis, the Trump Administration Is Going Soft on Big Banks

Enforcement at the SEC, Comptroller of Currency and CFTC Has Plummeted

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Although regulators’ failure to police corporate wrongdoing on Wall Street helped trigger the 2008 financial crisis, the Trump administration is scaling back enforcement against Wall Street wrongdoing, a Public Citizen analysis (PDF) shows.

At the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which protects shareholders from corporate fraud and abuse, the total penalties against corporate violators dropped by 68 percent between January 2015 and January 2018, from more than $2.9 billion to about $927 million.

At the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, another powerful bank regulator, penalties dropped by 58 percent. At the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency that, among other things, polices the derivatives market, penalties dropped 80 percent.

Public Citizen got the numbers by analyzing the Violation Tracker database assembled by Good Jobs First.

“The 2008 crash was a direct result of federal regulators’ failure to enforce the law against an out-of-control Wall Street and financial sector,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The Trump administration’s refusal to enforce the law – including the important but modest reforms of Dodd-Frank – and impose meaningful penalties against financial corporate wrongdoers, is courting another disaster.”

See the analysis (PDF).