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Even Bankers See a Risk in Rising Wealth Gap

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You know the expanding wealth gap is getting bad when bankers are warning about the risks to the economy from it. A new survey conducted for FICO by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association found that almost two-thirds of bank risk managers in the United States and Canada believe the wealth gap “poses a growing risk to the financial system.”

Of the 149 risk managers who participated in the survey, just over 62 percent said they agreed or agreed strongly with that sentiment, compared with roughly 14 percent who disagreed. Although these professionals, by definition, tend towards risk-aversion, “I do think the gap in wealth is something that is a concern and something that, collectively, all financial institutions need to take a look at,” said FICO spokesman Anthony Sprauve. It’s not just risk managers who are concerned. “Income inequality is a very destabilizing thing in the country,” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a CBS This Morning television interview in June. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen also said the wealth gap is worrisome and runs counter to American economic ideals.

IN-DEPTH

-- Martha C. White

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