Dodd-Frank Act

Too big to fail and too big to save: dilemmas for banking reform

‘Too big to fail’ traditionally refers to a bank that is perceived to generate unacceptable risk to the banking system and indirectly to the economy as a whole if it were to default and be unable to fulfill its obligations. Such a bank generally has substantial liabilities to other banks through the payment system and other financial links, which can be sources of ‘contagion’ if a bank fails. The main objectives in this paper are to identify the different dimensions of too big to fail and evaluate various proposed reforms for dealing with this problem.