New Rules

Banks in Washington Crosshairs

The country’s biggest banks are facing intensifying efforts to insulate them against causing another economic meltdown, including a new rule proposed by regulators that would require banks to build up more capital as insurance against a future crisis. Treasury secretary Jacob Lew issued an ultimatum to banks calling for the swift adoption of new rules passed in 2010’s Dodd-Frank bill, saying the government has still not ended “too big to fail,” and that he would be open to further action if necessary. Banks predictably argued that the new oversight efforts would restrict their competitiveness, an argument increasingly falling on deaf ears in Washington. The reason: the six largest banks posted profits of $23 billion in the second quarter, undercutting their insistence that their competitiveness is in danger.