Big Banks Are Once Again Taking Risks With Complex Financial Trades

Jim Zarroli at NPR:

Big banks are skirting the rules on the sale of the complex financial instruments that helped bring about the 2008 financial crisis, by exploiting a loophole in federal banking regulations, a new report says.

The loophole could leave Wall Street exposed to big losses, potentially requiring taxpayers to once again bail out the biggest banks, warns the report’s author, Michael Greenberger, former director of trading and markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“We’ve seen this movie already,” he said at a news conference Tuesday.

The regulations cover credit default swaps, a kind of insurance contract taken out by investors to cover potential losses in assets. Such contracts were enormously popular all over the world during the housing boom and led to big losses when the mortgage market collapsed.

More here.