The financial exchange traded fund (ETF) landscape has already changed significantly this year in the wake of bank mergers, takeovers and bankruptcies. But if the Treasury Department has its way, there could still be plenty more to come.

Wall Street has pulled back today, despite the fact that the credit markets are easing up some. The worries now are that company earnings outlooks are sending signals that we’re headed for a long downturn, reports Joe Bel Bruno for the Associated Press.

On the upside, investor anxiety seems to have dissipated some compared to the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the government is still working on solution to the problems that plague our financial institutions.

It’s become clear that since the government began its efforts to recapitalize banks, it not only wants to restabilize the industry but reshape it, says Mark Landler for the New York Times. One official says that the Treasury doesn’t want to prop up weak banks but instead encourage consolidation.

Plenty of banks are open to selling themselves, but there’s so far a lack of well-capitalized buyers. There are stable national players, such as Bank of America (BAC), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) that are already digesting acquisitions. A second group of super-regional banks are in a position to take over competitors, but are struggling to complete deals.

But by offering favorable rates to these banks, the government might give them a hand at expanding.

If and when these mergers come down, we could continue to see shifts in the indexes that underlie ETFs such as the SPDR Select Sector Financial (XLF), which is down 42.8% year-to-date.

Financial Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.