The National Farmers Union, representing farmers and ranchers in 32 states, reiterated support for re-instating the Glass-Steagall banking law, in its annual policy statement, released yesterday at the conclusion of its yearly convention. The NFU is on longtime record, supporting Glass-Steagall. But this week, the organization also added a call for "vigorous investigation and prosecution of criminal activity in our financial institutions."
During the 2010 Congressional battle against Dodd-Frank, the NFU issued a press release May 17, stating that, the "NFU has long opposed efforts to deregulate financial markets, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 2000. Rolling-back regulations which had maintained our economy, removed protections from financial institutions that posed a systemic risk to our economy, allowing the crash of 2008 to happen." 'Economic Regulation and the Family Farm' This week's 145-page document is titled, "Policy of the National Farmers' Union—Enacted by Delegates to the 111th Anniversary Convention," March 2-5, released from Springfield, Massachusetts. The principal call for Glass-Steagall reinstatement is in Article VIII-Economic Regulation and the Family Farm, Section C. Bank Regulation. The text:
"From the beginnings of this country, public policy has favored a decentralized banking system, avoiding the abuses that would come from a highly concentrated financial structure. We are concerned about recent trends in bank regulation that have accelerated the loss of independent community banks and have decreased the banks' desire to service agricultural credit needs. It has also reduced community reinvestment.
—"1) Passage of a banking reform bill which mirrors the Glass-Steagall Act;
—"2) Maintaining individual Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) coverage of at least $250,000, as gross sales transactions in agriculture have increased over the past number of years; and
—"3) Making all financial institutions aware that "too big to fail" will not be tolerated in the future; and
—"4) Vigorous investigation and prosecution of criminal activity in our financial institutions."
Another call for Glass-Steagall is made in the NFU policy document, in Article IV—Credit and the Family Farm, which lists 15 measures supported by the NFU, under the heading, "We recognize that agricultural debt will continue to be a problem until there is a genuine and lasting improvement in farm income opportunities." Measure number 14 is: [We support] "The Glass-Stegall Act of 1933 and urge a re-regulation of the financial services industry."
The Glossary of the NFU policy statement, includes the definition, "Glass-Steagall Act—A law passed by Congress in 1933 which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. The law was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999."
The NFU was founded in 1902 in Texas, and today represents the interests of farmers and ranchers nationally, with 25 organized divisions, serving members in 32 states. The organization asserts, as a point of pride, that its policy statements, enacted every year at its March convention, reflect a "policy process" initiated through resolutions at the local and state level.