Scandals May Cost the Banks Their Clout

After the financial crisis, nothing was more surprising than the speed with which the banks regained their self-confidence and their influence, not to mention their haughtiness.

“They feel more powerful to me than they did before the crisis, when they were healthy,” one regulator told me recently.

That sense of power may have peaked this spring, before JPMorgan Chase disclosed its $2 billion — now $5.8 billion and counting — “hedging” loss and before the public firestorm erupted, largely in Britain, over the Libor scandal.

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