by Jeff Sovern
Remember how back in 2008, the Bush administration shepherded a $700 billion bank bailout through Congress? Well, the House of Representatives voted last month to rescue banks yet again. And if its bill, the Financial Choice Act, becomes law, ordinary Americans may pay a bigger price than they did for the 2008 bailout.
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Supporters of the bill, claiming that every day the country loses another community bank, argue that banks are in trouble. The culprit, in their eyes, is the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 to prevent another financial crisis, which they argue imposes excessive regulation on banks.
Opponents of the bill note that, as one recent headline had it, American bank profits are higher than ever, and community bank profits rose by more than 10 percent in the first quarter of this year. Despite the consolidation of community banks — a trend that began years before Dodd-Frank, suggesting other causes for the consolidation — the country still has almost 6,000 FDIC-insured banks, and a similar number of credit unions.