Volcker: Let's Make Banks Safe

Stepping out of the shadows again, Paul Volcker, the head of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, writes in Sunday's New York Times that more needs to be done to improve the "safety net" which keeps commercial banks stable. The former Fed chair takes aim at the commercial banks, which sponsor hedge funds or private equity funds, putting bank capital at risk. He says banks that have a foot in both worlds "present virtually insolvable conflicts of interest with customer relationships." Things are dire, according to Volcker. He writes, "We need to face up to needed structural changes, and place them into law. To do less will simply mean ultimate failure—failure to accept responsibility for learning from the lessons of the past and anticipating the needs of the future."