In his new book, Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act (Oxford University Press, 2020), Professor Emeritus Arthur E. Wilmarth, Jr. calls for a new Glass-Steagall Act that would separate banks from the securities markets, as the original Glass-Steagall Act did from 1933 through the 1980s.
Based on his four decades of observing and analyzing our financial system, Professor Emeritus Wilmarth contends that a new Glass-Steagall Act would restore financial stability and ensure that our financial system serves Main Street business firms and consumers instead of Wall Street speculators. Under his proposal, universal banks (banks that engage in securities activities) would be broken up and would no longer dominate our financial system, and securities markets would once again function as true markets instead of being subsidized and distorted through their connections to "too big to fail" banks. His book argues that we urgently need a new Glass-Steagall Act to end the boom-and-bust cycles that have plagued our financial system over the past quarter-century. A new Glass-Steagall Act would also promote a more decentralized and competitive financial system, which would provide better services to all sectors of our economy and society.
Professor Emeritus Wilmarth discussed his book with Cynthia Fornelli, JD ’91, former Executive Director of the Center for Audit Quality, during a “Take a Recess with GW Law” program hosted by the Alumni Office and the Business and Finance Law Program.
Read an overview of Taming the Megabanks published by Professor Emeritus Wilmarth in The FinReg Blog of the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke University School of Law.
Read a review of the book in The FinReg Blog published by Joseph A. Smith, Jr., former North Carolina Commissioner of Banks and a Senior Fellow at the Global Financial Markets Center.
Watch a video of Professor Emeritus Wilmarth discussing his book at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC.
Read Professor Emeritus Wilmarth’s op-ed, “To Restore Financial Stability, Bring Back Glass-Steagall,” published in The Hill.
Read Professor Emeritus Wilmarth's op-ed, "Why It Would Be a Huge Mistake to Allow Big Tech Firms to Acquire Banks," published in Fortune.
Listen to an episode of "The FinReg Pod" podcast where Professor Emeritus Wilmarth talks about the book with Lee Reiners, Executive Director of the Global Financial Markets Center.
Professor Emeritus Wilmarth joined the faculty in 1986 after 11 years in private law practice. Prior to coming to GW Law, he was a partner in the Washington, DC, office of Jones Day. During his 34 years on the faculty, he taught courses in banking law, contracts, corporations, professional responsibility, and American constitutional history. He served as Executive Director of the Center for Law, Economics & Finance from 2011 to 2014.
He is co-editor of The Panic of 2008: Causes, Consequences, and Implications for Reform (Edward Elgar, 2010). He has also published more than 40 law review articles and book chapters in the fields of banking law and American constitutional history. In 2005, the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers awarded him its prize for the best law review article published in the field of consumer financial services law during the previous year.
Professor Emeritus Wilmarth has frequently testified before committees of Congress on financial regulatory issues. During 2010, he served as a consultant to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the body established by Congress to report on the causes of the financial crisis of 2007-09.