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The Not-So-Invisible Hand

Once upon a time, markets in this country functioned based on economic Darwinism. It was pretty simple: the strong survived, the weak perished and the strong were then rewarded by feasting on the remains of the economically inept. In what is sure to be the first of many intrusions from the various regulators in this dynamic, the FDIC wants to tilt the scales in the game of Hungry Hungry Hippo resulting from forthcoming bank failures. The FDIC estimates that up to 780 banks are going to bite the bullet over the next 24 months. So far PE firms have been having a field day snapping up failed institutions. But now the powers that be at the FDIC are concerned that the likes of Blackstone and Fortress are succeeding a little too much in their quest to carry out the principal mandate of private equity firms and it might be time for someone else to have a go. In their mind, this sort of thing should really be kept in the banking circle of trust and PE firms are outside the circle. The FDIC is reportedly considering "encouraging" stronger banks to step into the ring and take a piece of this pie. At the end of the first inning the score is Creeping Regulatory Intervention 1; Adam Smith 0.



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