The last time big U.S. banks made so much money, the financial world was heading toward the brink of collapse. This time, it’s stiff regulation that’s in danger.
Ten of the nation’s biggest lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. together made $30 billion last quarter, just a few hundred million short of the record in the second quarter of 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The achievement comes just as the industry’s long campaign against post-crisis rules finds traction with the Trump administration.
Banks have been decrying regulations aimed at curbing risk, blaming them for hurting capital markets and discouraging lending to consumers and companies. President Donald Trump, echoing those complaints, has asked regulators to find ways to ease off. But in this year’s second quarter, banks saw their profits propped up by lending operations even after a surge in revenue from more volatile trading units subsided.
‘It shows that the legislation we passed in no way retarded the ability of the banks to make money,’ said Barney Frank, the former congressman whose name is on the 2010 law tightening industry oversight. Banks are supporting the economy, he said. And ‘very specifically, it refutes Trump’s claim that we cut into lending. How do banks make record profits if they can’t lend — especially when they’re down in trading?’
The second quarter wasn’t a fluke. Even looking at the past 12 months, profits are still near the same level as 2007.
This post was published at bloomberg