A Depression-era financial regulation that was repealed almost two decades ago with widespread support is again the subject of fierce debate. The Glass-Steagall Act created a barrier between consumer banking activities, such as deposit-taking and lending, and riskier ventures such as investment banking. Supporters of reinstating the law say it could help the United States avert a new financial crisis by limiting excessive risk-taking; opponents say Glass-Steagall repeal played no role in creating the meltdown of 2008-09. While winning congressional approval for a reinstatement would be difficult, experts say populist anger against Wall Street is likely to keep the issue front and center for the foreseeable future.read full report
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JPMorgan Chase headquarters in Manhattan. It is one of four major financial conglomerates that resulted from a series of bank mergers following repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)