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DOJ’s Kanter Calls For An Update On Bank Merger Guidelines

 |  June 20, 2023

The US Justice Department’s antitrust division head has requested an update to bank merger guidelines to align with current market conditions, suggesting that authorities may broaden their review of deals in the industry.

According to Reuters, Jonathan Kanter, the DOJ’s assistant attorney general for antitrust, suggested that the guidelines, last updated in 1995, may no longer be sufficient to address the technology-driven expansion of financial services.

“There are good reasons … to question whether the 1995 guidance sufficiently reflects current market realities,” he said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a think tank.

Read more: DOJ’s Kanter Sets His Eyes On AI

The comments suggest that the Justice Department may take a closer look at proposed bank mergers, contrary to industry expectations that the Biden administration would be more lenient following recent bank failures.

The banking industry closely observed Kanter’s comments to predict the Biden administration’s stance on potential bank mergers. Critics and consumer advocates are against the growth of large banks.

He emphasized the significance of strong bank competition for all Americans and highlighted the importance of thoroughly examining any consolidation attempts.

“Bank competition affects the interest you earn on your savings account, the monthly payment on your mortgage or your car loan, or the fees you pay to withdraw cash from an ATM,” he said.