News / USA

Top US Bankers Defend Actions in Front of Congressional Panel

The Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Phil Angelides, says resentment of the big banks is running high throughout the country.

Four top U.S. bank executives have defended their actions leading up to the 2008 global financial crisis, saying that despite warning signs, they could not have known the crisis was coming.  The financial chiefs faced skeptical questions on Wednesday from members of a bipartisan commission created by Congress to determine the causes of the financial meltdown. 

The Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Phil Angelides, summed up the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis in the United States, saying that nearly 26 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed because they cannot find full time work, or have given up looking for work.  And he said more than 2 million families have lost their homes to mortgage foreclosures.

Angelides, a Democrat and former California state treasurer, said resentment of the big banks is running high throughout the country.
 
"People are angry," he said. "They have a right to be.  The fact that Wall Street is enjoying record profits and bonuses in the wake of receiving trillions of dollars in government assistance, while so many families are struggling to stay afloat, has only heightened the sense of confusion."

Angelides focused many of his tough questions on the chief executive of the Goldman Sachs financial firm, Lloyd Blankfein.  Blankfein acknowledged that the nation's financial system might have collapsed without bold action by the federal government.

"Without question, direct government support was critical in stabilizing the financial system, and we benefited from it," he said.  "The system clearly needs to be structured so that in the future, private capital rather than government capital is used to stabilize troubled firms promptly before a crisis takes hold."

Blankfein said that after the shocks of recent months, there is a natural desire for drastic reform. But he cautioned that the United States should resist a response that is designed to protect the country from what he called a "100-year storm."

The Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, told the commission that an inadequate regulatory system was another factor that contributed to the crisis.

"I want to be clear, I do not blame the regulators," he said.  "While they obviously have a critical role to play, the responsibility for a company's actions rests solely on the company's management.  But we should also look to see what could have been done better in the regulatory system.  We have known their system is poorly organized with overlapping responsibilities."
 
Dimon added that in the future, no financial institution, including his own, should be too big to fail.

The executives defended their firm's pay practices and generous bonuses, saying that they are necessary to attract and keep valuable employees. Major banks have come under criticism from many in Congress for posting huge profits and awarding bonuses after receiving government assistance.
 
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced that President Barack Obama will announce new measures on Thursday to recover taxpayer money used to bail out banks.  Asked whether the bank executives testifying on Capitol Hill owed the country an apology, Gibbs said it seemed to him that an apology would be the least they could do.  

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid