The largest U.S. bank collapse since the 2008 financial meltdown has left Americans especially eager for Congress to rein in Wall Street—and impatient with the power the financial sector has over lawmakers, according to polling released Monday.
A month after Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed following its decision to invest $91 billion of its deposits in long-term Treasury bonds before their value plummeted as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, progressive think tank Data for Progress joined the Progressive Change Institute in polling 1,215 likely voters about the bank and banking regulations.
Nearly 7 in 10 respondents said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned about the health of the banking industry following SVB's collapse, and 82% said they supported Congress taking action to strengthen banking rules in order to avoid another failure.
More than 70% said they would support the reinstatement of "critical banking rules" that were rolled back in 2018. Those rules weakened regulations for banks with between $50 billion to $250 billion in assets, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) said last month that their repeal was a major driver of SVB's collapse as they introduced the Secure Viable Banking Act to impose the rules once again.
The Biden administration said after the collapse that it would take steps including creating an emergency fund to make sure all SVB deposits were covered and demanded that executives be held accountable for bonuses that were handed out in the hours before the bank failed, but 90% of respondents told Data for Progress that they had heard little or nothing about the proposed reforms.
"While voters strongly support reforms in the banking sector and the actions taken by the Biden administration in the wake of SVB's collapse, these results signal that the administration has room to expand communication on the subject and claim this issue for Democrats," said Data for Progress.
The organization noted that likely voters were more supportive of President Joe Biden's plan when told the administration had created an "emergency fund" than when the fund was described as a "bailout" and when they were told that SVB's client base, made up largely of "billionaire tech investors and multimillion-dollar companies," had been helped by the fund.
The poll indicates, said the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, that Democratic leaders have an opportunity "to raise the volume on bank reform and accountability—and be seen as challenging power on behalf of everyday people."
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Julia Conley.