In-depth introduction: Leverage ratio

Hearings run by the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs can be pretty dull. The first hour is filled with lengthy, monotone statements from politicians and pre-prepared – usually pre-released – remarks from those called to testify. The second hour typically consists of political grandstanding, disguised as questioning. 

The February 6 hearing, however, contained a short exchange that has big implications for the largest US banks. Senator Sherrod Brown asked the assembled

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