Banking Reform

Greens will overhaul the financial industries to end their culture of impunity and to prevent them from committing fraud or malfeasance so severe as to drive our nation into a massive recession or depression.

Since finance, banking, and insurance institutions occupy a privileged position of power at the center of commerce, this special advantage brings with it special social responsibilities. We must ensure that the institutions chartered for these roles take that responsibility seriously and serve the public interest.

Greens aim to reform the financial industries to eliminate usury (exorbitantly high interest rates on loans) and ensure that they meet their obligations to taxpayers and local communities.

  1. Break up our nation's largest banks and financial institutions so that none is "too big to fail." End taxpayer- funded bailouts for banks, insurers and other financial companies.

  2. Regulate all financial derivatives, ban any predatory or gambling use of derivatives, and require full transparency for all derivative trades, to control risk of systemic financial collapse. Require regulatory pre-approval of exotic financial instruments.

  3. Re-enact the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial companies and engaging in risky economic transactions.

  4. Oppose the federal government being the final guarantor of speculative investments. During a financial crisis, if the federal government and/or a central bank must provide relief, it should be given in an equal manner and at the most local level possible, so that benefits are equitably dispersed and burdens are equitably borne. So rather than pouring trillions of dollars into the banking system, they should have provided direct mortgage relief to homeowners suffering the most from the housing bubble and negotiated with lenders to provide partial loan forgiveness.

  5. Ensure that low- and middle-income people have access to banking services, affordable loans, and small-business supporting capital, especially through credit unions.

  6. Oppose disinvestment practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money deposited in local communities out of those same communities, damaging the best interests of their customers and community.

  7. Support the extension of the Community Reinvestment Act to provide public and timely information on the extent of housing loans, small business loans to minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projects, and affordable housing.

  8. Strengthen disclosure laws, anti-redlining laws, and openness on the part of lenders regarding what criteria they use in making lending decisions.

  9. Oppose arbitrary or discriminatory practices that deny individuals or small business access to credit.

  10. Support development of charter community development banks, which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meet the credit needs of local communities.

  11. Support the expansion of co-operative credit unions.

  12. Prosecute criminal banking speculation. The Green Party of the United States stands for the reversing the U.S. government bailouts of speculators who engaged in mortgage fraud and related financial crimes. The Green Party calls for aggressive investigation and prosecution of the individuals and corporate entities that targeted families of modest means for predatory home loans, and the large-scale securitization of these loans. Penalties should include prison terms, revocation of corporate charters and confiscation of corporate and individual assets.

  13. Impose a moratorium on foreclosures. An ongoing mortgage-related crime wave is occurring around fraudulent foreclosures, rushed through without proper legal clearances or documentation, often on properties which foreclosing entities cannot even prove they own. We demand a four-year moratorium on foreclosures intended to recoup losses from predatory lending. The proposed moratorium would apply to all homes used as a primary residence and valued under $350,000.

  14. Access to primary, secondary, post-secondary and vocational education should be a right of all, not a privilege of the wealthy, and certainly not an opportunity for predatory lenders. It's time to forgive all student and parent loans taken out to finance post-secondary and vocational education. The estimated $40 billion is a fraction of the bailout distributed among the predatory lenders who created the student debt crisis and would make a material difference for households across the country.

Sources:

Green Party