“The banks run the place,” Rep. Collin Peterson cried out this week. The New York Times reports that he has a bill that would specifically ban derivatives from trading in a clearinghouse regulated by the New York Federal Reserve, which Peterson blasted as “a tool of the big banks.”
A “tool” because the nine biggest banks in the derivatives market– including JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America– all met secretly to discuss how to use the lax regulation and institutional secrecy of the NY Fed to shield their credit-default swaps business from prying eyes and attempts at regulation, as the Times reports:
As the financial crisis entered one of its darkest phases in October, a handful of the nation’s largest banks began holding daily telephone sessions. Murmurs were already emanating from Washington about the need for a wide-ranging regulatory overhaul, and Wall Street executives girded for a fight.
Atop the agenda during their calls: how to counter an expected attempt to rein in credit-default swaps and other derivatives — the sophisticated and profitable financial instruments that were intended to limit risk but instead had helped take the economy to the brink of disaster.