Morgan, Goldman going commercial

A Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Wall Street will never be the same after this. And I don't just mean because Bear Stearns is gone. And Lehman Brothers is gone. The whole model on which Wall Street has thrived for years -- the independent investment bank -- is over. Last night, the Federal Reserve voted to let Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley become commercial banks. That means they can take deposits, giving them more access to capital.
I'm sure Bear Stearns and Lehman wish they'd had that. But it also means Goldman and Morgan will be under much tighter supervision. Here's Steve Henn.


Steve Henn: Investment banks are free to take big risks, make highly leveraged bets and they often realize huge returns. But recently they've been clobbered. And the last two investment banks standing, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, just turned their backs on this business model. Dick Bove follows the industry at Ladenburg Thalmann

Dick Bove: What these two companies have done this morning is simply bend to the inevitable, the inevitable being that they weren't going to get the money to further maintain their leverage and they were going to be regulated.

As commercial banks both Goldman Sacs and Morgan Stanley will be required to maintain larger capital reserves. All Commercial banks are required to have healthy cushion of money when times get tough. Bove says this makes them less profitable but has served them well.

Bove: Despite all the upset in the financial markets, not one commercial bank of any size has gone under.

Luckily for Goldman and Morgan Stanley there's a willing buyer for many of the bad investments. Bove says the federal bailout will give them the cash they need to transform into conservative commercial banks.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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