Financial Services Update – Issue 1

January 15, 2010

Authored by: Matt Jessee

Obama Unveils Proposal on Bank Taxes

President Barack Obama unveiled a “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee” yesterday, which, if approved by lawmakers, would go into effect June 30, 2010, and last at least 10 years. It would amount to 0.15% of total assets, minus high-quality capital such as common stock and disclosed and retained earnings. Insurance policy reserves and deposits covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) would not be taxed because such assets are already subject to federal fees. The tax would hit approximately 50 banks, insurance companies and large broker-dealers. Of those, approximately 35 would be U.S. companies, and 10 to 15 would be U.S. subsidiaries of foreign financial firms.

The tax is expected to raise $117 billion over 12 years, and $90 billion over the following 10 years. Approximately 60 percent of the revenue will come from the 10 largest financial firms. The White House plan excludes small banks and auto makers that accepted funds from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. The banking industry strongly opposes the White House fee, calling it a political exercise that will stifle the economic recovery, force it to pay for the auto sector’s bailout, and ultimately burden consumers.

House Democrats Introduce 50% Tax on Bonuses

On Thursday, House Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill to slap a 50% tax on bonuses paid in 2010 by banks that took federal bailout funds. Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) said the bonus tax proposal is “complementary” to the fee proposed by Mr. Obama.

Read More