Our Position

Ending Too-Big-to-Fail


  • ICBA supports legislative and regulatory measures that would curb or end advantages currently enjoyed by too-big-to-fail banks and help mitigate the risk they pose to the financial system and economy. Such measures include: (1) higher capital and supplemental leverage ratio requirements on the largest banks and their holding companies; (2) enhanced liquidity standards; (3) activity restrictions; (4) concentration limits; (5) limitations on the federal safety net; and (6) more effective resolution authority.
  • ICBA supports a significant capital surcharge on SIFIs and the imposition of total loss absorbing capacity (TLAC) and long-term debt (LTD) requirements on globally significant banks and large regional banks.
  • ICBA supports the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC’s) and the Federal Reserve’s rules on contingent resolution plans which would facilitate rapid and orderly resolutions and enable the FDIC, as receiver, to resolve the institution under the FDI Act.
  • ICBA encourages the agencies to use the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) to divest the assets and operations that might hinder an orderly resolution if these institutions do not file credible plans.
  • The same prosecutorial standards and enforcement procedures must apply to community banks and megabanks alike.


The continued growth and dominance of a small number of too-big-to-fail banks has led to an overly concentrated financial system, created unacceptable moral hazard and systemic risk, thwarted the operation of the free market, and harmed consumers and business borrowers.

The greatest ongoing threat to the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system is the dominance of a small number of too-big-to-fail megabanks, which have grown even larger since the financial meltdown of 2008. The 12 largest US banks, just 0.002 percent of all US banks, account for 52.6 percent of industry assets, dwarfing the rest of the banking system and posing massive systemic risk.

Because these firms are too big to fail, they act with impunity and court risks that no smaller firm would tolerate. The markets offer them credit at rates that do not reflect their true risk—rates that are subsidized by an implicit taxpayer guarantee. In addition, large or interconnected institutions are too big to manage, too big to prosecute, and their executives are too big to jail.

To address TBTF, we must both reduce the riskiness of megabanks to make it less likely they will fail in the first place and, when an institution is failing, ensure that tools are available to implement an orderly liquidation of the institution without causing a destabilizing systemic impact.

Staff Contact

Christopher Cole

Executive Vice President, Senior Regulatory Counsel

Washington, DC


Jenna Burke

Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Government Relations & Public Policy

Washington, DC


Letters to Regulators and Congress

Title Recipient Date
Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission 09/18/23
FDIC, Fed 01/23/23
DOJ 02/15/22
DOJ 09/30/20