Bob Wilmers, Chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, has played a critical role in Buffalo over the past 20 years as he's grown M&T Bank from a company worth just over $1 billion to the 29th largest bank holding company in America now worth $10.3 billion. Wilmers has never shied away from playing a prominent public role, whether it's advocating for the hiring of Superintendent James Williams or serving as the head of the Empire State Development Corporation.
Today, Wilmers took to Bloomberg.com to pen an op-ed criticizing the biggest banks in the country and the regulatory environment that is facilitating their growth. While it may seem odd that the CEO of the 22nd largest bank in the country is criticizing big banks, Wilmers takes great pains to highlight the differences between regional and community banks (like his) and the six mega-banks.
Wilmers points out that in 1990 (when M&T Bank was worth less than $1 billion), the six largest financial institutions accounted for 9 percent of all US deposits. As of December 31, 2010, the six largest accounted for 36% of deposits. Wilmers goes on to claim that "trading revenue at these institutions distinguishes them from traditional commercial banks, which aren't typically involved in such speculative endeavors. The Big Six institutions earned more than 93 percent of the trading revenue generated by all American banks during the past two years. To say these large institutions are the same species as traditional commercial banks is akin to describing dinosaurs as reptiles -- true but profoundly misleading."
Read the entire Bloomberg piece.