Regulators were right not to greenlight the TD-First Horizon merger
A merger of TD Bank and First Horizon would have further consolidated a banking sector that is already too concentrated, writes Shahid Naeem, a policy analyst for the American Economic Liberties Project.
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Last month, TD Bank and First Horizon abandoned their $13.3 billion merger after failing to receive regulatory approval for the deal. In response, Keith Noreika, a former top Trump administration bank regulator, and Bryan Hubbard, his former OCC public affairs officer, took to the pages of this publication calling the banks' termination of their deal the result of a "broken" merger review process and saying it "needs a reboot." The truth is, Noreika whose former law firm has been advising TD on its First Horizon acquisition and Hubbard are right. Our bank merger process is broken, but it's not for the reasons they think.
Despite their claim that our bank merger review process is broken and overly restrictive, in recent decades bank regulators have almost entirely failed to enforce our bank antitrust laws. Instead, they have overseen the drastic consolidation of their industry. The Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC have not denied a bank merger in twenty years, despite mounting evidence that rampant bank consolidation has led to a range of competitive, consumer and economic harms. The U.S. has lost ten thousand of the banks it once had forty years ago a 70% drop and today the six largest bank holding companies control more assets than all others combined.