Britain To Break Up Biggest Banks

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THE PLANK NOVEMBER 2, 2009

Britain To Break Up Biggest Banks

The WSJ reports (online): “The U.K.’s top treasury official Sunday said the government is starting a process to rebuild the country’s banking system, likely pressing major divestments from institutions and trying to attract new retail banks to the market.” The British style is typically understated and policymakers always like to play down radical departures, but this is huge news.

Pressure from the EU has apparently had major impact--worries about unfair competition through subsidizing “too big to fail” banks are very real within the European market place. Also, strong voices from within the Bank of England have helped to move the consensus.

The U.S. position on protecting everything about our largest banks is starting to look increasingly isolated and out of step with best practice in other industrialized countries. Time to start planning for the breakup of Citigroup.

[Cross-posted at The Baseline Scenario.]

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posted in: the plank, simon johnson, finance, economy, bank of england, banking, retail, commission of european communities, major

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