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Banks significantly safer: BlueMountain's Staley

Much better regulation and more intense supervision have led to banks that are much safer today than they were before the financial crisis, BlueMountain Capital partner Jes Staley said Tuesday.

"You combine with extraordinary capital levels across banking and much better liquidity profile, undoubtedly the financial markets are significantly safer today than they were precrisis," the former JPMorgan investment banking chief said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

In fact, the markets, corporations and government need big financial institutions, he said.

"Large banks provide the oxygen for large corporations."

That said, while the industry has done a very good job of dealing with the issues that created the financial crisis, regulators have the "incredibly difficult task" of trying to find the challenge that's around the corner, Staley said.

One of his biggest concerns is the rapidly growing U.S. debt market.

"I think we should, as an industry together with our regulators, continue to seek ways to find better transparency, better liquidity, better efficiency across the credit markets," he said.

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As for the recent market volatility, Staley said there is a "very odd disconnection" between the Federal Reserve interest rate hike expected this year and the economic stimulus occurring in Japan and Europe.

"How those two dynamics play off of each other is going to be a problem, I think, or a challenge for the market to digest."

He also doesn't anticipate the United States will be in a slow-growth environment long term.

"When the unemployment rate dips around 5 percent and you start to see wage inflation, the notion that we are low forever will be dispelled," Staley said.