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Banks' activities no value to general society

Published: August 26, 2013

In response to Michael J. Hunter (Your Views, Aug. 21): The return of the Glass-Steagall Act would indeed be helpful in the case of the largest U.S. banks.

According to an April report in The Wall Street Journal, the five largest U.S. banks have combined assets of $7.59 trillion. Most of this largesse is the result of trading and speculation in complex derivative instruments of their own creation. The unfortunate part of this banking story is that there is no value to general society from such odious activity and it has nothing to do with the everyday banking needs of small business or individuals.

This type of activity by the largest banks merely serves those few bankers who were aptly described in Malcolm Berko's “Ethical worries cloud JPMorgan stock” (Commentary, Aug. 18). The mathematical implication of numbers this large is quite interesting: $7 trillion is enough money to pay 14 million unemployed Americans $50,000 per year for 10 years!

Bill Arnold, Nichols Hills