Fed's Kashkari says big banks are safer now than before the financial crisis

  • Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said the biggest U.S. banks are "unquestionably" safer than they were before the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
  • Although low interest rates mean the Fed has less room to cut to offset a downturn, the Fed now has plenty of experience with non-traditional tools like quantitative easing that it can use as well.
Neel Kashkari
Anjali Sundaram | CNBC
Neel Kashkari

Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and a critic of big banks, on Wednesday said the biggest U.S. banks are "unquestionably" safer than they were before the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

The Fed's ability to use monetary policy to safeguard the financial system is about even with the pre-crisis era, he also said, because although low interest rates mean the Fed has less room to cut to offset a downturn, the Fed now has plenty of experience with non-traditional tools like quantitative easing that it can use as well.

Kashkari made the comments in a public debate held by Intelligence Squared U.S. in New York City, in which he and Harvard University professor Jason Furman were defending the notion that the financial system is safer than it was 10 years ago.