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My colleagues Hester Peirce and Robert Greene have put together a series of charts showing the recent concentration of the U.S. banking system — small banks are disappearing and large banks are growing in number. Here is one of their charts that shows the changes:
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub.L. 111–203, H.R. 4173; commonly referred to as Dodd-Frank) was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Passed as a response to the late-2000s recession, it brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the regulatory reform that followed the Great Depression. It made changes in the American financial regulatory environment that affect all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every part of the nation's financial services industry.
The financial crisis of 2007–2010 led to widespread calls for changes in the regulatory system. In June 2009, President Obama introduced a proposal for a "sweeping overhaul of the United States financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression."
Regulatory compliance can be a particular challenge for small banks with limited compliance expertise. Regulatory expenses absorb a larger percentage of small banks’ budgets than of their larger counterparts’ budgets. Although correlation is not evidence of causation, as financial regulation has increased since 2000, so has banking concentration. The Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010, imposes a new set of regulations that are disproportionately burdensome to small banks. Moreover, by designating the largest financial institutions as “systemically important,” Dodd-Frank creates a market expectation that designated firms are too big to fail and generates funding and other competitive advantages for the largest US banks.