World Economy

Sanders Attacks US Banks

Sanders Attacks US BanksSanders Attacks US Banks

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned on Tuesday that financial-sector greed was “destroying the fabric of our nation” and said the starting point of any Wall Street reform effort is breaking up “too big to fail” banks.

“If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist; when it comes to Wall Street reform, that must be our bottom line,” Sanders said in a blistering speech. He said allowing banks that are too big is essentially providing them with a “free insurance policy” to make risky investments knowing the US government will prevent their collapse, Reuters reported.

The US senator from Vermont - an independent and a democratic socialist popular with the Democratic Party’s populist wing - gave his speech at a theater near New York’s Times Square, just “a few subway stops away from the epicenter of the global financial crisis,” as his campaign put it.

Sanders also called for structural reforms to the Federal Reserve, making credit rating agencies nonprofit entities, and a tax on speculative investments. He urged increased penalties for financial fraud or malfeasance by institutions, calling fraud the business model of Wall Street. His remarks were laced with direct and indirect criticisms of the policies and track record of primary campaign front-runner Hillary Clinton, whose constituency when she was a US senator from New York included the financial industry. The former secretary of state, however, has taken a tougher stance against Wall Street as a presidential candidate.

Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are vying to face the Republican nominee in the November 2016 election.