All-Clear for Big Banks Raises Fears of a Return to Risk

“It’s not a sudden thing. It’s been a long time coming,” said Guy Moszkowski, managing partner at Autonomous Research U.S., an independent firm in New York. “But American banks are more soundly capitalized today than at any time in my career, which started in 1979.”

On the other hand, critics fear the easing of regulatory pressure and a more laissez-faire-oriented White House could set the stage for a return to the bad old days of enormous leverage and freewheeling deals until the music inevitably stops.

“This isn’t the time to put the brakes on regulation,” said Mark T. Williams, a banking expert at Boston University and a former bank examiner for the Federal Reserve. He noted that with the 10 largest American banks…

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