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How Chuck Schumer Caused the Second Largest Bank Failure in US History
CNBC.com | July 12, 2008 | 05:13 PM EDT

Federal officials aren’t supposed to cause bank runs. In fact, much of the New Deal bank regulatory apparatus was set up for the purpose of eliminating such panics. When FDR was hit with a massive set of bank runs shortly after taking office, he gave an address in order to calm terrified depositors, assuring them that the banks would reopen shortly, and that everything would be fine. But Chuck Schumer is no FDR. He doesn’t stop bank runs; he starts them. Or, at least, has started one. The collapse of Indymac bank, the second largest bank failure in American history, began with a letter from the office of Senator Charles Schumer on June 27. He questioned the viability of the bank. When a senior senator who is in a number of influential posts regarding oversight of bank regulators directly attacks the confidence of a depository institution, it matters. Not surprisingly, the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision concluded that the collapse of the bank immediately following the Senator’s comments was not a coincidence. Director Reich concluded that Senator Schumer had ‘given the bank a heart attack’.

Why? Why would a federal official with enormous power, destroy an institution on which tens of thousands of depositors (not all of whom are insured) and employees depend? Why would a New York Senator attack a Pasadena bank, acting as some sort of amateur, self-appointed, long-distance bank examiner?

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