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.

TEXT SIZE - +

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 Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid