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TheStreet Open House

Lehman Blame Game Still Played Four Years, $12.8 Trillion Later

Better Markets

Better Markets was founded by and is funded by Michael Masters, who also founded Masters Capital Management, LLC. Masters is also a partner with Wilbur Ross in Masters Capital Nanotechnology, which is a venture capital fund.

Better Markets CEO Dennis Kelleher previously served in several senior Senate staff positions, including chief Counsel and senior leadership advisor to the Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, where he was involved in Dodd-Frank discussions "at the leadership and floor level."

Kelleher agrees that many players were to blame for the financial crisis, but says that "they all didn't do so equally, and that in an unbiased hierarchy of fault, we place Wall Street -- meaning the too-big-to-fail banks not exclusively located on Wall Street -- at the top."

Kelleher says that "no one action will be sufficient to protect the American people, but history teaches us that we need multiple layers of protection for the financial system, the economy and taxpayers. That's what Dodd-Frank tries to do."

"I don't think Dodd-Frank is perfect," he says, "but it is the law of the land and it is the best that a democracy could produce at that point in time. If it is implemented in good faith as intended, it should work."

When asked if the largest banks should simply be broken up, Kelleher says that if Dodd-Frank is implemented as intended, the big banks do not have to be broken up, because they will no longer be a threat to the financial system or our economy, as they won't be systemically significant."

"Our view is that there should be no part of the financial system that is so big, so risky, or so interconnected that its failure should collapse the system or our economy," he says, adding that "if there was a crisis today, they would all get bailed out again. The hope is that over the next three to five years, all the layers of protection will be in place to prevent that from happening. "

Implementing Dodd-Frank

One opponent of certain aspects of the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation is Frank Sorrentino III, the CEO of North Jersey Community Bank of Englewood Cliffs N.J., which didn't apply to participate in TARP. The bank had $822 million in total assets as of June 30, with eight branches.

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