By Peter BakerThe New York TimesNew York City has long been a hub for the global economy, with the biggest companies headquartered here, and the city has been home to the global financial industry since the 17th century.

Now, as the global recession and economic slowdown has taken hold, New York City’s financial sector has begun to feel the pinch. 

The financial services sector accounts for more than half of all economic activity in the city, and New York has long held a reputation for financial acumen. 

“We’ve been a financial center since the beginning, and we’ve got some of the most skilled people in the world in financial services,” said John Paulson, the former treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and a leading advocate of a financial services overhaul. 

He noted that the city had been among the most active financial centers in the U.S. for decades, with many financial institutions that once operated out of downtown Manhattan now located in the Financial District. 

But the city’s financial services industry has been hit hard by the recession. 

Finance, insurance and real estate firms have seen their profits and revenue drop sharply since 2008. 

At the same time, the city is undergoing a wave of gentrification.

The influx of people who want to live and work in neighborhoods that once belonged to the working class, and are now mostly affluent and well-connected. 

Many have chosen to move to the Financial Triangle, which includes Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The number of new residents in this area of the city grew more than 25 percent between 2014 and 2016, according to the Uptown Business Alliance. 

With the recession, the financial sector’s profitability has suffered. 

It lost more than $300 million last year. 

Financial services companies are also struggling to find new customers for their products. 

In the first half of this year, the Financial Services Association of New York said, there were a total of more than 3,500 new inquiries a day for credit-card processing and other financial services. 

A New York attorney general’s report last month estimated that at least $1.4 billion in fraudulent transactions in the City’s banks were related to fraud in the first three months of 2017, the highest quarterly total in the past 20 years. 

Last week, the New York Post reported that banks have been issuing fewer and fewer loans to small and medium-sized businesses. 

Some financial firms, like Morgan Stanley, have reported a drop in demand from the burgeoning financial services market. 

Bankers and regulators have been calling on the government to loosen restrictions on financial services, like limiting how many companies can open branches in the same location. 

Federal regulators have also suggested that banks make more aggressive efforts to improve the accuracy of their customer service. 

So, what should the federal government do to help these financial firms? 

There are a number of ways to address the crisis in the financial services arena, said William Catton, a former top banker at the Department of the Treasury under President George W. Bush. 

One strategy would be to reevaluate how many banks are in the cities and whether they should be included in the new financial centers. 

Another option would be creating more flexible banking rules for businesses that operate across the country. 

There is also the idea of creating a new regulator for financial services companies that are not part of a regional financial center. 

For the first time, regulators are considering imposing new restrictions on banks that have failed to meet their statutory capital requirements. 

That is the threshold that banks must meet to open new branches in other cities. 

Catton, who served as chief financial officer at the U-S Treasury under the Clinton administration, said that a financial centers that fail to meet the capital requirement will be held accountable by the government. 

While some regulators have already suggested that it is time to consider the possibility of expanding the ability for banks to operate in more metropolitan areas, Catton said that there is still a lot of work to do. 

Currently, only one bank, JPMorgan Chase, operates in the region, he said. 

Other financial centers such as Wells Fargo and Citigroup have a lot more to do in terms of expanding their branches in more locations. 

More than $200 billion was invested in New York during the economic boom. 

These financial centers, and many others across the nation, could benefit from a stronger regulator. 

To help financial services firms prosper in the coming years, the federal regulator should focus on ensuring that they are financially sustainable, Canson said.

The current financial institutions are not. 

If the financial center regulatory framework can be reformed to help financial centers thrive, then financial services will be more resilient in the future.

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