More Bank Bashing On-Tap
Members of Congress are not in Washington this week, so it should be a relatively quiet week among politicians who fail to realize that breaking up the largest U.S. banks may not be in the best long-term interests of the United States. After all, it seems quite unlikely other countries will make similar moves to make their own banks less competitive. FIG Partners analyst Christopher Marinac said in his "weekly musings" report on Tuesday that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is among this year's class of freshman senators, "attended her first meeting of the Senate Banking Committee and appeared noticeably angry towards the Banking Industry." "One long-time Bank CEO remarked to us that it was the most contentious meeting he has ever seen," Marinac said. The analyst asked "how many pounds of flesh are Elizabeth Warren and her fellow anti-bank followers going to extract." Marinac said that "as much as other systemically-important banks could be forced to make changes, we think [<b>Bank of America</b> <span class=" TICKERFLAT">(<a href="/quote/BAC.html">BAC</a><a class=" arrow" href="/quote/BAC.html"><span class=" tickerChange" id="story_BAC"></span></a>)</span>] is the odds-on favorite for a symbolic move that satisfies the politicians that they were productive in their Anti-Bank pursuits." These moves could include accelerated branch sales, a possible decision to exit smaller metropolitan areas, and even "splitting up BAC into a separate Investment Bank from the traditional General Bank for commercial and retail operations."
Goldman's shares have now returned a very impressive 24% year-to-date, following a 43% return during 2012. Last year's performance was a partial recovery from a 46% drop during 2011. Putting all that together, the shares are down 3% since the end of 2010.