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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid