Who regulates regulators?

“The regulators need regulating,” says Wednesday Journal of OP & RF in this week’s “Inside Report”:

More details continue to emerge about opportunities missed and thwarted by federal regulators, leading to the demise of Park National Bank. A recent Crain’s Chicago Business profile  . . . of legendary Chicago banker Harrison Steans’ return [sic] to the banking scene, notes that Cole Taylor Bank, of which he is a leading stockholder, held merger talks with Park National but federal regulators nixed the deal because they had concerns about Cole Taylor.

Steans started a foundation 20 years ago, which has made millions in loans to improve conditions in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s West Side. In other words, if Park National were to be swallowed by another bank, better one led by someone like Steans than U.S. Bank, the eventual acquirer, which has no track record of local community reinvestment.

Nor of being saddled with more bad loans than it can handle.

In any case, regulators always need regulating, I commented, having in mind congressional overseers such as Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.), who encouraged Fannie Mae to multiply loans to marginal borrowers and refused to call a spade a spade when its situation was getting ugly — when the Bush White House was calling for more regulation, by the way.

Park National’s Mike Kelly counted on Frank et al. to do their job and invested millions in Fannie, and this was his mistake. 

Cherchez le governmentally backed agency and its congressional guardians, especially left-wingers who know where the votes are and cater to those who cast them.

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