While some consumers have questioned how executives at Wall Street banks have eluded criminal prosecution, it looks like a group is hoping to make an example of a different audience: bank regulators.
In a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 26, two members of the Occupy the SEC movement sued six of the top leaders in financial regulation for their failure to effectively enact the Volcker rule, which places trading restrictions on bank trading. The list of defendants reads like the starting lineup for the banking regulation all-star team:
- Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
- Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
- Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Thomas Curry, comptroller at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
- Mary Miller, undersecretary for domestic finance, U.S. Department of the Treasury.
- Neal Wolin, acting secretary and deputy secretary of the Treasury.
The plaintiffs are Eric Taylor and Kristine Ekman, two Brooklyn residents. According to the lawsuit, Taylor has a checking account at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Ekman has a checking account at Wells Fargo Bank.
"While some banks have pared down their proprietary trading activities in anticipation of a fully implemented Volcker Rule, such activities nevertheless persist, thereby putting at risk money that is held by bank depositors like the plaintiffs," the lawsuit reads. "The longer the delay in the Volcker Rule's final implementation, the greater the risk that is placed on the plaintiffs' deposits."
From failing to prosecute bank executives for any part in the mortgage crisis to struggling to complete new guidelines for the industry, banking regulators have faced plenty of scrutiny over the past few years.
And, this isn't the first example of the Occupy the SEC organization's efforts. Last year, the group submitted a 325-page comment letter to the SEC, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the OCC that urged quick action on banning proprietary trading at banks.
What do you think of the lawsuit? Will it do anything to actually speed up the process of approving a final version of the Volcker rule?