220215 Comments Bank Merger Review DOJ
February 15, 2022
The U.S. Chamber appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division in response to the solicitation for public comments as to whether and how to revise the 1995 Bank Merger Competitive Review Guidelines.
The Chamber agrees that DOJ should revise the Guidelines to reflect the significant changes in the last quarter century to current economic realities and to our empirical understanding of the market, including the following: the explosive growth in competition from online banks, credit unions, and other finance options for consumers; studies indicating that concentration does not reduce competition, particularly given the relative ease of entry into credit markets and the ready availability of competition from creditors outside of particular geographic markets; studies finding that mergers can increase competition; and studies that call into question the use of deposits as a metric for calculating the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI).
The Chamber also points out that rather than revise the merger guidelines to subject more proposed transactions to deeper scrutiny, DOJ could best increase competition in credit markets by using its competition advocacy tools to support deregulatory policies that would allow more companies to compete.