At the very end of the 112th Congress, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to mandate a GAO study of the potential benefits very large bank holding companies derive from expectations that they are too big to fail (TBTF). Although the House did not pass the legislation, the GAO has decided to undertake the study, laying the analytical groundwork for debate sure to come over whether these BHCs warrant break up, activity restrictions or other measures to curtail the TBTF status some assert remains despite the orderly-liquidation authority mandated in Dodd-Frank to prevent this. The study is also to assess the benefits, if any, big BHCs received from emergency actions during the crisis and continuing Federal Reserve monetary-policy actions.

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