January 13th, 2010
01:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hears from bank CEOs


The CEO's of some of the nation's largest banks were sworn in Wednesday during a hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Four top bank chief executives told a panel probing the financial crisis Wednesday that they made mistakes but didn't realize how bad they were at the time.

In a heated exchange in Washington with the head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs' CEO, agreed the banks had assumed too much exposure to risk at the height of the crisis, and he wished he could go back and change things.

"Anyone who says I wouldn't change a thing, I think, is crazy," Blankfein said. "Knowing now what happened, whatever we did, whatever what the standards of the time were - It didn't work out well."

"Of course, I'd go back and wish we had done whatever it took not to find ourselves in the position we found ourselves in," he added.

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Filed under: TARP
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jane/Seattle

    I think they need to HEAR from the Victims and Forensic Accountants! Asking the fraudulent, speculating UNETHICAL BANKS is about the same as putting industry hacks in charge of regulatory agencies as has been done rampantly under Bush and other administrations! (Obama's, Too!) Wanna solve this problem? R-E-G-U-L-A-T-E Big Business!

    Help the Victims, NOT the Predators! Oh, Yes, and that CEO from Goldman says they do the work of GOD? Who could possibly ever believe that unless the god in question is the figure here: $$$$$$$$$ in the Billions! Why is it that only the Rich get to avoid the consequences of dishonest business practices? Could it be that they also run the place? Peace

    January 13, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The only "mistake" these people made was not adequately setting up someone to take the blame for their greed and arrogance.

    January 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. mark

    who is going to question clinton, frank dodd and the other democrats that supported the community reinvestment act and forced fannie and freddie to make loans to low income borrowers?

    January 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Ken in NC

    I hope the bank CEO's realize they got their one shot. They are right back to "Busines As Usual" so the same thing is going to happen again. When it does they will find their stock holders have unloaded most of their stocks, account holders will have removed their little bit of money and the taxpayers are not going to bail them out again. It is a good thing we are not the kind of nation China is. Had Bank CEO's done in China what they did here in the USA, they would have been put to death by the government.

    I have moved all my funds to a community bank and feel comfortable with it. I admit it took a bit to get all my automatic deposits and debits switched but I feel better now that it has been done.

    January 13, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Connie in Tennessee

    What a "crock"!! They knew exately what they were doing and they are doing it again after getting millions from the taxpayer. As long as their profits are high, they don't care about doing the right thing. Just keep that bonus coming!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but......

    Anyone who believes that any meaningful financial regulatory reform or breaking up of "too big to fail" companies is on the horizon hasn't been paying attention lately. Big biz owns our government lock, stock and barrel. Have a nice day!

    January 13, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |

    The bottom line is, for these guys it just doesn't matter. We've let these firms become too big to fail and these guys will end up just fine no matter what happens. The time to break up these behemoths, who have us by the shorts, is soon upon us.

    January 13, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. J.P.

    Instead of holding show trials, looking into "what went wrong" and looking to point fingers and score political points, how about we just chop off the fingers with the cancer so it doesn't spread again?

    Step 1. Audit the Fed.
    Step 2. Dismantle Fannie and Freddie.
    Step 3. Repeal the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and Bill Clinton's 1995 amendments to it.
    Step 4. Require borrowers to actually PROVE they have a job and can pay for the property.
    Step 5. Tell low-lifes and dirt bags, "Maybe if you can't afford to purchase a home, maybe renting is a better option for you."
    Step 6. Jail Barney Frank and Chris "Waitress Sandwich" Dodd.
    Step 7. Flip this House. And the Senate, too.

    Incumbent Dump – 2010
    Re-elect NO ONE!

    January 13, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Fnord-a-saurus Rex

    These guys don't have any real remorse. The system is designed to fail, thats how the fat cats make all their money and keep the working class down. Dont believe me? go to youtube and watch the Zeitgeist Addendum movie. It was released in mid 2008 right before all the crap hit the fan. pretty eye opnening given the time frame when this came out. The first version of the movie came out in the early 2000's so it's not like this is any sort of surprise.

    January 13, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Jill, California

    Hey guys, how about foregoing your "bonuses" and give that money back to the people who bailed your butts out. Remember: the American tax payers.

    January 13, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. al in memphis

    First, this hearing should have been held before the Bush administration gave them the money. Taxpayer would have felt more comfortable giving help to those who were not a reckless. All the time people have been blaming bad mortgages as the sole reason, under oath we find out that investment products ( not much different that gambling) created alot of debt with no assests to back them. The bankers excuse is that is what the investor wanted-then the investor should have suffer all the loss.

    Second– When Obama stress that the financial system needed an overall, you could hear cries of socialism for months and months. Now when the bankers themselves talk about needing reform, people act like it a long overdue idea. People who really want this country to get back on its feet should be insult when a good idea is only worth something if it is coming out the mouth of the right political party.

    January 13, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Jamie

    These crooks deserve to be giving testimony in US courtrooms. It is time to start cracking down on this level of fraud against the American people. I fully support Obama's plan to tax banks!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Equality for all

    A neighbor of mine just quit his extremely high paying job at Goldman Sachs. He said he just couldn't stand the corrupt culture of doing anything for a profit, even if it means driving the rest of the world economy off of a cliff. Of course, he already made his multi-millions, lives in a 12,00 sq. ft. mansion (with only a family of 4!). But even his conscience couldn't take it anymore...

    January 13, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. David

    It is ridiculous for them to want us to belive that they had no idea. This was planned and it was a heist of our money. They are now perpetuating a false recovery and are preparing to do this again in the future to take more money from us all.

    January 13, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What do Americans need to hear, we already know they are all thieves and liars who knew very well what they were doing. But when you've got a thief like John McCain in the WH who has done the same thing, I'm sure they've figured out if he got away with it so will they.

    January 13, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Obama 2.0

    What a joke. The trial ballon was Conseco finance years ago, but the feds were not regulating and it was to easy for employees to make BIG bucks writing bad paper. They can say what they want about Wall Street, and they did screw the pooch, BUT, that was secondary cause not root cause. the root cause was a failure to regulate/enforce at the begining of the loan at the local level.

    Six Sigma BB 🙂

    January 13, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    These guys should not have their jobs.

    January 13, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |