Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sharply criticized the existence of financial firms that are “too big to fail” and said policy should perhaps be changed to tackle the problem. Bernanke, speaking at the Independent Community Bankers of America conference in Florida, said those companies posed an “insidious” barrier to competition in the financial-services industry and Washington should find a way to dial back those firms that risk the global financial system. "It is unconscionable that the fate of the world economy should be so closely tied to the fortunes of a relatively small number of giant financial firms," Bernanke said. Congress is considering financial-market reforms, and the Fed chief said he supported an agency with the power to “impose losses on debt holders, override contracts, and replace managers and directors as appropriate” when the biggest companies get in trouble. Bernanke said he also wanted huge firms to have a “living will”—a plan for breaking up the company if its problems get too big to handle.
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