The recent “Occupy Wall Street” protest movements have once again drawn attention to banking and the pitfalls of deregulation that accompanied the repeal of much of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 with the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. There has indeed been much ado about the Glass-Steagall Act, also known as the Banking Act of 1933, yet few in the media have actually taken the time to explain the act or why it is being cited so often by protestors. The Glass-Steagall Act was first enacted in 1932 and then the second was passed in response to the commercial banking collapse of 1933. Its primary aims were to control speculation by introducing the separation of banking types into commercial and investment banking branches while also starting the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to insure depositors up to a federally determined amount. The act allowed for “rediscounting” as a means of providing financing for a financial institution. It was the act’s separation of investment and commercial banking branches, however, that is cited by many as having prevented financial collapses like that of 2008. The act’s stated purpose was, “enacted to remedy the speculative abuses that infected commercial banking prior to the collapse of the stock market and the financial panic of 1929-1933.” The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed much of the Glass-Steagall Act and allowed for intermingling between securities, insurance and banking institutions which was prevented by the Glass-Steagall Act. The formation of Citigroup in 1998 with the combination of Citibank, Primerica, Smith Barney, and Travelers Insurance into one company would have been illegal under the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act. The United Kingdom’s Independent Commission on Banking’s Vicker’s Report released earlier this year detailed reforms of the British banking system that were very much akin to those introduced to the U.S. banking system by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. When protestors cite Glass-Steagall, it is because, had Glass-Steagall remained in place, many of the problems facing the U.S. banking sector and the whole mess with the bailouts would, theoretically, not have happened.