Better Markets Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary with Report, Staff Blog Posts and Videos
Major Milestone Reflects Nonprofit’s Success in Taking on Wall Street and Fighting for Main Street Families, Businesses and Community Banks
Better Markets is celebrating a decade of success as an independent, nonpartisan organization that fights for the economic and financial security and success of all Americans, particularly those impacted by inequalities in society, and serves as a Washington and Wall Street watchdog. The nonprofit released a report as well as s a series of blog posts and videos by individual staff members released in conjunction with the anniversary.
President and CEO Dennis Kelleher, who co-founded Better Markets in October 2010 with Board Chair Mike Masters, recently reflected on the past 10 years and shared his thoughts on the watchdog’s founding, mission and history:
“With the devastation of the 2008 crash still robbing tens of millions of Americans of their jobs, homes, and hope, Senator Dick Durbin said out loud in 2009 what everyone knew was true but dare not say: that the biggest financial firms on Wall Street ‘own this place,’ meaning Washington, D.C. For decades, Wall Street and its allies claimed that whatever was good for Wall Street was good for Main Street. As a result, whatever Wall Street wanted, Wall Street got. The 2008 crash, caused by Wall Street’s reckless and illegal activities, cost more than $20 trillion and proved those claims false as heartbreaking economic wreckage destroyed Main Street families, businesses and community banks across the country.
“Better Markets was founded in 2010 to make sure that never happened again. With the audacious mission of fighting for Main Street in the financial and economic policymaking process in Washington, Better Markets’ goal was to be a counterweight to the power, access and influence of Wall Street’s biggest financial firms. No longer would Wall Street get its way unopposed. No longer would it bend if not break the rules, laws and regulations to benefit the few at the expense of the many. Better Markets’ plan was simple, but unique: to have a small, but seasoned team of professionals with substantive banking, securities and derivatives expertise, as well as political and media savvy, who would confront and rebut the financial industry and its army of lobbyists, lawyers and allies in the regulatory, administrative, legal, legislative and media arenas.
“Enabled by fearless donors, cheered by influential leaders, and strengthened by strong partnerships with allies, that plan, as recognized by independent academics, was turned into a reality with a great deal of success. Our work — with our partners and allies, including many in finance — promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. We have been fortunate on this journey to have worked with and gained the support of numerous influential leaders, including former President Barack Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, to mention just a few. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generous and steadfast support of our individual donors and foundations.
“As a result, we are respected for our expertise, knowledge, determination and independence by regulators, Congressional members and staff, the media, and many others, including many in the financial industry. While Wall Street would prefer to return to the days before the 2008 crash when it was not opposed, challenged or even questioned about its arguments, positions and conduct — and when they could get their way quietly behind closed doors in the dark corners of Washington that they ‘owned’ — those days were over once Better Markets was founded in 2010. As demonstrated in the report, Better Markets has become Main Street’s powerful and effective voice throughout the Washington economic and policymaking process.”