10 Facts on Banks, Money and Democracy


1. In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left.

2. The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37percent larger over the past five years. This after the 2008 economic implosion caused by reckless lending practices of the largest banks which used much of their taxpayer bailout money to acquire smaller banks, becoming ever more economically and politically powerful.

3. The U.S. banking system has 14.4 trillion dollars in total assets.  The six largest banks now account for 67 percent of those assets and all of the other banks account for only 33 percent of those assets.

4. JPMorgan Chase is roughly the size of the entire British economy.

5. The five largest banks now account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.

6. Right now, four of the “too big to fail” banks each have total exposure to derivatives that is well in excess of 40 trillion dollars. The total exposure alone that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.

7. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the global financial system has a total of 441 trillion dollars worth of exposure to interest rate derivatives.

8. Congress gave up their Constitutional authority to issue and circulate money to banking corporations with passage of the Federal Reserve Act 100 years ago on December 23, 1913. Banking corporations now issue most of the money in the US via loans (which is debt), including loaning money to the US (instead of the US issuing its own money debt free).

9. The financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign “contributions” (more accurate word is actually “investments”) to federal candidates and parties (both Republicans and Democrats), with insurance companies, securities and investment firms, real estate interests and commercial banks providing the bulk of that money.

10. “The very idea of a government that can create money for itself, allowing banks to create money that the government then borrows, and pays interest on, is so preposterous that it staggers the imagination. Either everyone in government in charge of the procedure is lacking in intelligence or they have been bought and paid for by those who profit from their skullduggery and their infidelity to the public interest.” — William Hixson, Economist

We must democratize our national money (monetary) system and break up the big banks. 

[Sources: Points 1-7 are from http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/83-numbers-from-2013-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe; point 9 is from OpenSecrets.org]

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