If Government Won't Break Up the Giant Banks, Let's Do It Ourselves

George Washington's picture



As everyone knows, the economy cannot permanently recover
and truly stabilize until the giant banks are broken up. The top
independent experts agree that the "too big to fails" are a drain on the economy and put the entire system at risk.

The giant banks aren't lending much to the people who need it. Fortune pointed out
in February that smaller banks are stepping in to fill the lending void
left by the giant banks' current hesitancy to make loans. Indeed, the
article points out that the only reason that smaller banks haven't been
able to expand and thrive is that the too-big-to-fails have decreased

Federal Reserve Governor Daniel K. Tarullo said in June:

importance of traditional financial intermediation services, and hence
of the smaller banks that typically specialize in providing those
services, tends to increase during times of financial stress. Indeed,
the crisis has highlighted the important continuing role of community

For example, while the number of credit unions has
declined by 42 percent since 1989, credit union deposits have more than
quadrupled, and credit unions have increased their share of national
deposits from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent. In addition, some credit
unions have shifted from the traditional membership based on a common
interest to membership that encompasses anyone who lives or works
within one or more local banking markets. In the last few years, some
credit unions have also moved beyond their traditional focus on
consumer services to provide services to small businesses, increasing
the extent to which they compete with community banks.

the government - instead of breaking up the giant banks who aren't
lending to the people who need loans - is trying to prop them up using permanent bailouts. See this, this, this and this.

- instead of separating different business activities (such as
depository banking functions and speculative investments) - the
government is actually allowing companies to get involved in a wider variety of business activities.

For example, economist Simon Johnson points out
that Goldman Sachs recently converted to a "financial holding company",
allowing Goldman to borrow money from the Fed at essentially no cost,
and then invest it in any thing it wants. Johnson gives an example:
Goldman bought a large share of the stock of a Chinese automaker. If
the investment succeeds, Goldman will reap the profits. If it fails,
the American taxpayers are on the hook.

And Goldman is apparently
profiting from its combination of roles as both an investment brokerage
house for other investors and as a large speculative investor itself.
Specifically, Goldman apparently delays trades it makes for its clients
long enough to use that inside knowledge of who is buying or selling what to make speculative investments for itself, oftentimes taking the exact opposite position for itself and its largest clients as the position it is recommending to its Mom and Pop investor clients.

Why are politicians letting this happen?

Could it be because the giant banks have bought and paid for Congress and the White House? See this, this and this.

We'll Have to Do It Ourselves

If the government isn't doing anything to fix this dangerous situation, we'll have to do it ourselves.

a start, if Congress won't reimplement the Glass-Steagall Act (the
Depression-era law which previously separated depository functions from
speculative investing), let's manually separate these two types of businesses.


Simple: let's pull our money out of the too big to fails and put it into small community banks and credit unions.

The giant banks may still make bucketloads of cash on their casino style speculative gambling
(for now, at least), but after we've moved our deposits to more
responsible, smaller banks which don't gamble as much, then we will
have manually separated depository banking functions from the giant
banks' speculative investing.

Get it?

The government isn't
doing the job and fixing the problems which have led to the economic
crisis ... so we'll have to do it ourselves.

Some people say that moving our money out of the too big to fails will
just mean that the government will give them more bailouts. But this
misses 3 points:

  1. If the deposits
    are withdrawn, the giant banks will only be speculative gamblers, and
    at least our deposits will be safe and won't be mixed with their toxic

  2. The
    giant banks and their enablers in Washington will look even worse if
    they are bailing out companies that are solely and obviously gambling

  3. The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has warned:
    public will not bail out the financial services sector for a second
    time if another global crisis blows up in four or five years time, the
    managing-director of the International Monetary Fund warned this

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the CBI annual conference of business leaders that another
    huge call on public finances by the financial services sector would not
    be tolerated by the “man in the street” and could even threaten

    advanced economies will not accept any more [bailouts]...The political
    reaction will be very strong, putting some democracies at risk
    ," he told delegates.

In other words, the government - fearing revolt - might be more hesitant to give another round of bailouts than people assume.

not looking at this with rose-colored glasses, and I realize that the
TBTFs will act like the kid who killed his parents and then cries for
pity since he's an orphan.

But I think that if the government is
not doing its job, we should do it ourselves, and that a focused
gesture of taking things into our own hands can only help.

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lynnybee's picture

ahhhhhh........ just remembering the days when we used to put money in a bank and earn interest on our money and watch it grow............ now, any money put into a bank is subject to FEES !!! ........ why bother !   .......... don't put money in banks, either under your mattress or in a credit union ...........

Kayman's picture

We need a 10 million American march on Washington. Seattle Washington to Capitol Washington.

We have 20 to 30 million unemployed available.

All we need is a (ahem) Community Organizer. I hear one will be coming available soon.

Once Barry took the dirty money from
Wall Street and loaded his Cabinet with all the usual suspects, it was game over for the American Middle Class.

The Battle Cry. Bust up the Crooked Banks, and Repatriate American jobs.

I don't know if God can save this country, so let's roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves.

And yes, a guillotine should be duly considered for corruption and treason.

Rick64's picture

I am ready for the march on Washington. Lets set a date and see who is serious. I will personally bring 50-100 people. This will unite the citizens and send a message to our corrupt politicians that those days of giving yourselves pay raises, taking bribes, making decisions based on your own greed against the citizens of the United States of America, well those days are over. We will not be stopped!!!!

Dburn's picture

One huge issue I never see mentioned in the TBTFs is that they have virtual lock on many or most of the payment systems of the United States Govt. The control all the disbursements for Food Stamps as they are now issued by Card. JP Morgan runs a database with the Govt who accept applications, which is passed to JPM who loads the card and mails it to the recipient. Each month the cards are reloaded with that months allotment.

They control most all other small payment systems for the Govt The credit cards that millions of Govt employees carry around to do the business of the Govt is run by Citibank, JP Moran, Wells Fargo , Morgan Stanley ( I didn't go deeply into their contracts) Bank of New York and more. I checked the first 5 and then went into various stages of delirium until I quit. Too much input.

JPM alone had 55 Contracts with the Federal Govt last year and 721 since 2000. They are all over the place from providing payment services to handling the investments of the Pension Guaranty Corporation. Those are just the open contracts. No telling what else all of these banks are doing. Many contracts had zero dollar amounts but explanations of some very dollar intensive type work so it is hard if not impossible to see how much Taxpayer money they are extracting from services.

Those are the ones that need shoe leather and time to ferret out. How many billions are we paying and to how many banks. Is in in the 10s of billions? More?

It is safe to say that when they meant systemic failure they meant they would bring the Govt down with them. If you want to do your own research, win a Pulitzer , get famous, the key is finding out what all the jargon is on the contracts and talking to the contracting agent in the Govt.

These aren't systems that can easily be transferred back and forth between banks or duplicated . They are essentially performing key back office functions all the way to handing out the billions the govt pays out every day.

So as you think about the TBTFs, think in terms of how they really got this way. In our rush to privatize govt functions that gathered major steam at the end of the 90s , at the same time we passed acts that allowed the very same banks to take risks that were illegal for 93 years. We allowed them to grow not because we wanted the world biggest banks but because the back and forth between Banks and Congress. I imagine they claimed they needed economy of scale to handle the backroom functions of the govt .

The privatization maniacs on both sides of the aisle just shook their heads and said " what do you need from us as their sweaty palms were slimming the $5000 suits . They wanted theirs too. They got it. That's why the banks own the place and that's why nothing will change.

We talk as if we have control over this. We don't . It ain't just welfare. It's FEMA , It the US Military and many other sensitive areas from what I could see of the contracts. They do much more than payments too. They handle customer service which they have outsourced to India. That's right, if you have a problem with a payment from the US GOVT, you call a Call center In India on many of their contracts. How fucked up is this?

Again and again we have been shown that privatization of govt functions do not work when the greed factor is in play on all the privatized work. It ends up costing us more money and lives too. From contractors shoddy work that ends up electrocuting soldiers in their showers to Pension Guarantee funds being invested in all the wrong places.

So who who wants to take a shot at this? Here it is . Make sure you have the corporate spellings right and look out for operating subsidiaries. FreeSpending.org

By the way, that 6 hours was inspired by a post here about JP Morgan Making money off the Food Stamps program. The guy in the video , who looked like a used car salesman, seemed almost beside himself as he talked about this growing business.

These people really piss me off

WaterWings's picture

Jeez, Dburn. This read like a Tyler Durden post without all the satire and sarcasm. Another very elucidating post.

I can see the Chase logo on Capitol building; blue glow seen from miles afar - and none will dare call it fascism. 

Anonymous's picture

Are we missing the point? A mass exodus from the big banks would leave them naked to what we know them to be. That may/might give the newest incumbents a reality check as to who they SHOULD be working for. If the career politicians will not work for us, We could try a true grass roots return to politics just as The GOP is trying to, in Tennessee. Non typical politicians cant do a worse job, the good old days were not the greatest, but are regular people with some common sense and roots in their community not what we really need? It used to be the farmer and the local business man (and now Woman) would be elected locally to run for office. They worked for NOTHING, serving their community and country as their civic duty. Trust their are Americans out there at this point who would jump at the chance to make a real difference, we just need to find them and give it a chance if the Government will not work for US!

dark pools of soros's picture

what if you do all this and then Timmy forces BAC or C to 'merge' with say, 30 small banks??  and they just keep eating them and eating them up...  


don't try to say anything about their bad balance sheets.. that means nothing..  the beast will feed when it needs to

Windemup's picture

Message from a foreigner:

USA: You need to act now. Failure will postpone and multiply the problem. Your failure now will pass the problem on to the lynch mobs. The outcomes then are much more costly.

mock turtle's picture

last week

i pulled the plug on jpm-chase


they tried to talk me out of it, tellin me what good service im gonna get at chase


this was right after their investment guy told me that the bank was going to charge my ira account 210 bucks for investing in an etf




i had my 4 cashiers checks in hand before i unloaded the big reasons why i was leaving especially that i was tired of seeing the taxpayers bail out the mega banks while the big shots up top get their fat bonuses


the branch manager heard me discussing this point with her employee and "politely" called me a liar...she said jpm chase had paid back all the tarp money and they didnt need it to begin with


i called her out on that, pointing out that the big bankstas had pawned their toxic MBS off on the feds in exchange for treasuries and the aig flow thru money was a back door bailout and finally that the casino banking was on going


as the discussion became an ugly argument i stood up and said good bye...but as i left, turned predicted others, like me,will be leaving this bank

Anonymous's picture

A lot of anger is being directed at the bankers, why not so much heat on the govt? Seems to me that, at very least, there's a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that shows the govt is working in collusion with the bankers. Elected and appointed officials should be (formally and financially) penalized for their participation in their great wall street swindle. Moving money into community banks is a good start. If everyone maxed out the number of exemptions they claim on their paychecks, that would put a serious and immediate dent in the govts day. Someone needs to buck up and fucking do something already.

Rick64's picture

I agree with you and someone is me, you, and every concerned American.

Anonymous's picture

Concerning the bank run idea.

The money market system is broke. How do I know, well go to the mmf of the three largest m-funds. Look at the contents. You will puke. It is in a small percent treasuries and the rest is toxic waste. Just like the big banks.

There was an article on ZH recently on the money markets. Please read it again. When a real bank run occurs they are on target to not give our funds back. M-funds too. And if you sell m-fund shares where does the cash go? Yep, into the ponzi money fund. Goodbye.

The government does not to want the mmf's to be run because the first thing they would sell would be the treasuries. Remember there are about 3.3 trillion in m-funds. 25% of that is in treasuries (give or take). That could just crash the treasury market. Not good.

Then the toxic trash. Selling it for whatever would mark it to the market. Oops! The banksters who have trillions more would have to then mark a bunch to the market. Crash!

Think about it. You get a small percentage back. Maybe.

Hephasteus's picture

The money market is always broken in a fractional reserve system. The question is HOW BROKEN IS IT. When it goes beyond the normal 3 percent yeild to the 5 and 6 percent it was at and the 1/4 percent it is at now. It's BADLY BADLY BROKEN. The buck will not be broken this next round. The buck will be destroyed.

Anonymous's picture


"It's illegal to annoy".

Federal law states that when you annoy someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Here's the relevant language:

Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) states: "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

This got snuck through in a bill to prevent cyberstalking.
(By George W, who else)

The relevant section 113:


(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 223(h) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `and' at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).'.

(b) Rule of Construction- This section and the amendment made by this section may not be construed to affect the meaning given the term `telecommunications device' in section 223(h)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as in effect before the date of the enactment of this section.

This is basically a rewrite of § 223. "Obscene or harassing telephone calls in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communications"

It is a federal crime to make a specific death threat.

We have the right to free and unfettered speech.

IMHO what is required is a major call for civil disobedience. If you want something to get done then we are going to have to wake the people up!

A strike or a tax revolt or some other viral protest (both excellent proposals by the way) on a large organized scale is the ONLY thing that is going make any difference or garner any attention.

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance". ~Woodrow Wilson

Rick64's picture

MY government is annoying the hell out of me.

dark pools of soros's picture

nice post..


another way to make a run is for everyone to take maximum loans from their 401k plans and either buy gold silver or conduct everyone to start shorting in unison bad companies and eventually the big banks

Anonymous's picture

Your best bet is a strike, simply put its perfectly legal not to go to work or reduce your own hours. The best bet is to everyone take the same day off work. If you get a huge number it will leave a mark.

Anonymous's picture

I'm about 22 years ahead of this post. In fact the last time the US citizen got sheared was over banks, too.

My what a short memory the dumbshit populous has.

If you want to really wreck havoc, stop being a patron at any business listed on any public exchange.

Kill the beast, and this too shall pass. Perhaps with even a republic left thereafter.

john_connor's picture

Very simple if you have not done so already:

1) Move your money to a community bank or credit union

2) Sell all stocks or long only funds immediately, 401K's included

3) buy some physical PM's as a hedge

4) Support independent candidates or Republican candidates that can at least equalize the house and end the supermajority in the senate

5) Increase your federal withholding on your paycheck to "9".

6) If gov threatens to take over retirement plans, take a loan out on it, convert some to physical PM's and/or bury cash in yard.


ghostfaceinvestah's picture

On point 4) party doesn't matter, there are plenty of good people willing to run if they believe they can get past the party machines, i.e. if Peter Schiff and Rand Paul can win election to the Senate, it will inspire more good people to run.

Rick64's picture

This is true but its going to be a long hard road against a majority of corrupt politicians. We need to help them by sending these bastards a message. Demonstrations, Marches, Protests . This can be done in many different ways all accross the nation. Its time to show them what we are made of, and how serious we are.

john_connor's picture

agree.  I was just trying to walk before we run so to speak.  Right now the supermajority needs to be ended immediately (support Scott Jacobs in Mass.).  Other than that, yes, anyone who is not beholden to the "machine" will work.

Anonymous's picture

About 1 year ago I stopped using all my credit cards, even though I allways paid the full balance each month, never paid finance fees or late fees. I had been using only my credit cards and never cash for decades. The only cash I carried was less than $10 for ocasional parking fees and "just in case".

I now do all transactions using cash and try to maintain my bank balances as low as possible. I do use a Credit Union.

I tell everyone around to do this as well, and have been saying this since I started.

If everybody did this there would not be enough cash available, that alone is reason for of us all to do this! It's not a bank run, it's just denying fractional reserves to loan against. This is why the banks spend so much money to make us feel guilty about using cash:


Contrast with this:


See any resemblance?

Banks admit cash is bad for them, their commercials can't be more clear.

Hopefully more top sites start spreading the word ...

Rick64's picture

you are a hero in my book.

Anonymous's picture

Hmmm. Fair enough but isn't it the smaller banks that are up to their tits in CRE loans?

Also, most of the TBTFs (especially Goldmans) aren't perticularly reliant on deposits. You'd have to ditch your MMF holdings too because they like to crawl into bed wit these guys.

Its a nice idea however, why not try voting for independents instead of blue or red. Lobby money is one thing but it aint't worth sh@t when you are about to lose your seat.

Vote "Other" (any other) in 2010.

MsCreant's picture

The next election may well be too late. We need something dramatic like a strike, a tax revolt, something that reminds them who is in charge, or else THERE WILL BE VIOLENCE.

Hephasteus's picture

There will be tax revolts, strikes, work stoppages. Massive theft of corporate property. You name it.

You're already seeing people get bricks in things they buy from walmart. This discontentment meter goes to 11. Watch that Bush video. You know that guy is superior to Bush. I know that guy is superior to Bush. The secret service knows tht guy is superior to Bush. These rotten pieces of crap are going to get way better than they deserve. But that doesn't mean this is going to be incident free.

curbyourrisk's picture

The games don't end until Goldman Sachs is dead.  Forget being broken up, they need to be trampled on, strung up and shot with a silver bullet.

MarketTruth's picture

About friggen time!

It is now time for ZeroHedge to put on the top/center of the homepage in bold letters BANK RUN NOW!!!  for the next week or two, link to this article and others like it.

Also, contact Denninger and EVERY blogger to do the same on their websites. Get as many websites as we can to have on their homepage at the top center in bold letters BANK RUN NOW!!!

Waterfallsparkles's picture

BANK RUN NOW!!!  Now that would really work.

Isn't that what the Banks did to Bear Stearns, Lehman, Washington Mutual, Country Wide Financial.

Yes, that is exactly what they did to kill their Competitors or Banks they wanted to buy for ZERO or pennies on the Dollar. 

Time the tables were turned and someone YELLED BANK RUN on them.

MarketTruth's picture

Many thanks, now ZeroHedge needs to do it as does Market Ticker and others. ZH needs to get the ball rolling ASAP.

MsCreant's picture

Believe it or not, I think this is illegal.

I have called for this elsewhere, various versions of it, and I have been shown and told it is not legal.

Rick64's picture

I think I would be willing to fight this in court. Every good idea has to start somewhere and this is only the start. Everybody do it. I have already canceled 2 out of 3 of my bank accounts and two credit cards and will cancel the last one very soon. Also will stop using my debit card. If everybody does this it will have an impact and we should come up with new ideas to limit any transactions with banks. Don't call it a bank run and don't say they are insolvent, just call it prudence or whatever you want. If this is illegal then fuck em.

MarketTruth's picture

Please show me the specific law. Simply hearing it is is not good enough, find the law and prove your point please. Thank you as have never heard that bank runs are illegal.

MsCreant's picture

Here is one set of regs for one state. But what I found is way more interesting than your initial question.....call it the motherfucking load.

The danger is that it is against the law to tell folks to take their money out of a bank based on a false report on the bank's health. Thing is, if I say a bank is insolvent, it would be cool if they sued me because in court they would have to prove they were not. ZH is pushing these buttons hourly.




WaterWings's picture

Woah! You just opened up a can...

I just don't want to sit in jail for 178 days waiting for trial because I can't come up with the probably large bail and lawyer fees at this point. But what a concept!


WaterWings's picture

The websites would get "suicided" before it got any momentum.

This guy yelled profanities at Bush, the elder, in a pizza shop...


...and got a visit from the Secret Service the next day:




Jestocost's picture

"And so, heartened by their initial success, the desperate (and reasonably violent) men of the Permanent Assurance… battled on. Until, as the sun set slowly in the West, the outstanding returns on their bold business venture became apparent. Once proud financial giants lay in ruins… their assets: stripped; their policies: in tatters.”


I would contend that until people get very desperate (and extremely violent) we all be pissing up a rope!


Anonymous's picture


Move Your Money can be applauded but you apparently still believe in the system.

Just stop paying credit cards, home loans and bank loans.

DEFAULT! DEFAULT DEFAULT! The only way to clean the system.

http://blog.ml-implode.com/2010/01/default as-a-patriotic-duty/

MsCreant's picture

Do you hear how absurd this conversation is? The discussion is actually entertaining the notion that even if we all move our money, they will still get bailouts?

And I think that is a credible worry?

This whole thing is crazy. Until we get that in our bones, we are getting what we are letting happen to us and none of us should be surprised.

Rick64's picture

If we have another crisis and the FDIC insured deposits are non existent in these banks then I would hope the public backlash would be on a revolutionary scale as it should be now. I support any measure against these institutions to bring them to their knees, but even worse than these thieves are the politicians handing out our money to them.

anarkst's picture

Not if, but when, and when should be soon.  

Anonymous's picture

There is a lot of blame to go around. I know the "it's all due to the bankers" is popular on ZH but lots of politicians had a big part in forcing banks to do stupid things (Community Reinvestment Act and Glass-Steagall).

It's a lot easier to fire a politician than a banker. So, start shunning politicians.

Nonetheless, moving assets to local banks is a good step. I'm doing it.

jaybaybaker's picture

You are right, let me expand:

"it's all due to the bankers buying the politicians"


jaybaybaker's picture

For example, check out what Larry Summers knows, according to his own words:


But what Summers, Greenspan, ed al have prescribed for Japan and the Asian tigers at the time of their crises, can't be implemented here at home:

Why? Because a few interests control the political process in DC, and the financial sector is one of them.


Wait for the parasites to kill the host (i.e. the whole country) or vote with your money!


Your vote on election day has become meaningless, as Obama proves. He cannot compete with the forces in Washington that are simply stronger than him. So much about the myth about the "most powerful man on the earth."

deadhead's picture

Move your money dot info

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Until everyone makes this sort of behavior socially undesirable, expect more of the same. I have started to comment that internationally, anyone who works for these banks must be treated like dirt. (By legal means, of course).


If you can't enjoy your money b/c no one will do business with you on a personal level (no good dining, the dry cleaning comes back dirty, the lawn gets cut in a bizarre way, the wine ordered comes in a box, parents point at them and tell their children they are Satan, and so forth, this behavior will go on, because there is pleasure in it).


It would take a while, but it would cause them a lot of misery, all in a legal manner of course.

jaybaybaker's picture

Tell all your business partners, friends, and family to move their money to small banks.


They have the same technology, offer the same convenience, but you get MUCH better and personal service.


They are there for you and appreciate your business. The big banks play gotcha with you, trying to rip you off with every item, every transaction, while looting the Treasury and walking away with your tax dollars as "bonuses".


Money is one of the few things that is 100% fungible.


So yes, every single dollar that is being paid out as bonuses on Wall Street comes 100% from you, dear taxpayer.

And thank you, taxpayer, for being so stupid and complacent, that makes looting so much easier.