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Illustration: Drew Angerer/Getty Staff; Aïda Amer/Axios

Elizabeth Warren last week introduced a bill to strengthen oversight of bank mergers, arguing that the current construct is a rubber stamp.

The big picture: The Federal Reserve acknowledges that it declined none of the 3,819 bank merger applications it received between 2006 and 2017. And there's no indication that it's objected since then, including the $66 billion tie-up of BB&T and SunTrust that closed earlier this morning (albeit with some required divestitures).

  • It's unclear how the Fed might have ultimately ruled on 503 applications, included in the above number, that were withdrawn before deal completion.

The basics of Warren's proposal, per The NY Times:

It would demand more extensive testing for vulnerabilities when two banks want to merge, a bid to slow financial sector consolidation and lean against the formation of huge banks. And it would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Ms. Warren helped create, to approve any merger in which one of the banks offers consumer financial products.

Yes, but: Like most of Warren's plans, this one isn't becoming law with a GOP-led Senate and Trump-led White House.

But she's looking toward 2021. Were Warren to become president, or get sign-on from a more successful rival, then legacy banks might find it harder to merge, just as digital, branch-less banks become more popular.

  • Online bank Chime on Friday raised $500 million in Series E funding at a $5.8 billion valuation, up from a $1.5 billion valuation in March.

The bottom line: Warren and other progressive Democrats are intent on protecting brick-and-mortar retailers, but show no such affinity for brick-and-mortar banks.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

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