If You Ask Me: A Global Banker Reflects on Our Times
Wriston, Walter B.
How Big Is Big?
Do you think big business is too big?
Compared to what? How big is big? When I made my first airline loan, I financed 100 percent of a DC-3. That was $125,000. At that time I could have financed more DC-3s on the legal limit of Citibank than I can finance 747s with our legal limit today. It's a big world and it's getting bigger. It's problems are getting bigger. Bigger institutions are needed to deal with them.
More important than size is whether or not business is competitive. I live in an industry that doesn't believe in competition. I think that's wrong. Banking is the only industry that is exempted from the Clayton and the Sherman antitrust acts. Because of state banking restrictions, it's illegal for us to cross a state line--even to break up a monopoly with competition.
I don't think that total size is relevant, but I do think that size relative to the problem is relevant.