| MINNEAPOLIS, March 31
MINNEAPOLIS, March 31 Minneapolis Federal
Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said Friday that on his
thus far unsuccessful crusade to persuade policymakers to jack
up capital requirements for big U.S. banks, he is taking a cue
from the struggle for gay marriage rights.
"The activists stayed on it, stayed on it, stayed on it,
stayed on it, stayed on it," Kashkari said of efforts in
California to win equal-rights treatment for gay unions after
voters made same-sex marriage illegal in 2008. In 2015, the U.S.
Supreme Court made it legal throughout the country.
"I think on the issue of too big to fail, we have an
obligation to keep speaking up; people may not agree with us but
if we keep speaking up, maybe they will agree with us," Kashkari
told the Banking Law Institute in Minneapolis.
For more than a year Kashkari has worked to convince his
fellow central bankers, other regulators, lawmakers and the
public that the biggest U.S. banks are a threat to financial
stability because they are not adequately regulated.
Several months ago he proposed forcing them to hold much
more capital than they currently do, a strategy he says will
make them safer and the industry more competitive, but that
banks say will hurt them and the economy.
So far his plan has gained few backers, despite his giving
speech after speech defending and explaining it.
The new U.S. administration, far from imposing more
restrictions on financial institutions, appears inclined to roll
them back by dismantling at least some parts of the Dodd-Frank
Wall Street reform act that was aimed in part to prevent
faltering big banks to cause a repeat of the 2007-2008 financial
Kashkari, who ran for California governor in 2014 as a
Republican, also repeated Friday his call for more diversity at
the central bank, noting that the Atlanta Fed has just hired the
Fed's first African-American regional bank president, Raphael
Bostic. Bostic will also be the Fed's first openly gay
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)