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No Shock, Sherlock

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- 1870 days ago -
Raskin becomes the first to build a case that regulators should work to restore integrity in banking--for the banking industry's own good. She cites figures that many Americans eschew banks.They're not trustworthy, despite the fact that several thousand

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JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 3:26 pm
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No No shock, Sherlock

By: Bartlett Naylor

Not exactly making Sherlock Holmes proud, the detectives at the Federal Reserve who missed the housing bubble have finally discovered that banks have a reputation problem. At long last, a high level regulator has begun a conversation with banks on exactly this problem

In a speech delivered Feb. 28 in Atlanta, Federal Reserve Board of Governors Member Sarah Bloom Raskin plunged into the mud. “Reputations . . . have been tarnished,” Gov. Raskin understated.

The governor merits applause for channeling the public’s textured view of her own institution. “Many Americans direct their anger at not only banks, but policymakers as well. Because the economy pulled back from the brink of depression only through a massive and unprecedented infusion of public dollars, American taxpayers feel that they were forced into a position of accepting that the government had to put a lot on the line to save the financial system from ruin. And many of those taxpayers are still unhappy about such a massive government intervention that seemed to aid banks that were not held to account, while distressed households were left to pay the price.”

Raskin becomes the first to build a case that regulators should work to restore integrity in banking—for the banking industry’s own good. She cites figures that many Americans eschew banks. They’re not trustworthy, despite the fact that several thousand include the word “trust” in their name. (Fraudsters, of course, often begin a scam with the phrase, “Trust me.”)

For the mighty Fed, such self-criticism is most welcome. In her remarks, Raskin cites regulatory capture, but indicates that this problem deserves a second speech. “Regulatory capture” is a euphemism for the concept of regulated industries infiltrating the regulators themselves. There’s a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. We’ve got “Government Sachs.” In the hour Raskin delivered her speech, a former Citicorp executive to whom Citi agreed to pay a bonus if he secured a “ high level” government job chaired his first Financial Stability Oversight Committee (FSOC) meeting in his role as Treasury Secretary. That’s Jacob “Jack” Lew, newly confirmed by the Senate despite concerns about that Citi bonus. Public Citizen asked federal authorities to investigate ethics violations connected with the contract. The FSOC is composed of the heads of all the financial overseers, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Relegated to a footnote in the Raskin speech comes this: “The public also remains angry at policymakers for actions taken since the crisis. The erosion of public trust extends beyond financial institutions to the government officials that oversee them. For example, an American Banker reader poll conducted from December 17–23, 2012, found that a mere 8 percent of readers who responded thought authorities took the right course in the case of enforcement against HSBC for money laundering violations. As many as 47 percent said the Justice Department should have prosecuted the bank, while another 45 percent said authorities should have gone after the individuals responsible for the violations.”

The Justice Department explained they couldn’t exact stronger penalties from the criminal actions because they’d consulted with financial regulators who warned of “systemic repercussions.” Really!? Is the Federal Reserve now giving free passes for criminal action to major banks?

Raskin disclaimed that her speech represented her own views and did not represent those of the entire Federal Reserve Board. One wonders if Raskin originally buried this little bombshell about HSBC in a footnote. Or did Fed staff direct this burial, summing up the very problem of regulatory capture and poor oversight that lets banks run amok.

Sigh. At least there is one governor at the Fed who looks out the window and can see the right track.

Bartlett Naylor is the financial policy reform advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

jan b (5)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 3:33 pm
October 2008 Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman from 1987-2006, admitted before the House Committee onGovernment Oversight and Reform that he made mistakes as Fed chairman. Greenspan said the "flaw" in the assumptions he had over four decades was that lending institutions themselves were best able to protect the interest of their shareholders. The testimony marked a dramatic shift from a previously defensive position as regulartory chairman.
Should regulators be making assumptions about the ability of financial institutions to manage their own risk?

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 3:44 pm

The erosion of the public trust. What is more important than that one issue? Like Elizabeth Warren I do believe that we need to see and hear the government take serious action against those who have violated our laws and our trust. All self interested voices to the contrary I do not see any reason for any of those CEO's, CFO's or COO's to paid at their current levels, we don't pay high salaries to incompetents, and if not incompetent, than most certainly intentionally criminal in their actions.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 3:44 pm
Excellent question Janice! Anyone have answers to propose?

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 3:45 pm
Excellent observations and presentation of possible responses Kit! You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:02 pm
One of the only ways to restore integrity within banking, is to clear the decks throughout the whole banking community, and with it this preposterous notion that you have to pay some of these creatures a fortune to "do their job"

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:32 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Darren because you have done so within the last day.

Beverly T (82)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 5:21 pm
First I have to remind folks that we have been through this BEFORE !!!! and still LEARNED nothing. Do some reading on the Great Depression, the Savings and Loan debacle and ensuing "cures" for that problem which, IMO, leads us to our current problems which includes this damned demand for "balancing" the budget "spending" cuts, taxes and, and, and round and round we go.
IF this country could, just for ONCE, take it eyes OFF the "ALMIGHTY DOLLAR" this nation might become what 98% of us THOUGHT this nation was SUPPOSED to be/represent.
I am beginning to BELIEVE that everything has ALWAYS just been an ILLUSION created by the ELITES.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE hope, I love TO HOPE.
It's just that this EVERY DAY, day after day ATTACH against everything I HOPE FOR is really wearing me down.


Süheyla C (234)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 5:33 pm

Mitchell D (104)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 6:45 pm
I would agree with Kit, about the salaries, and add that it is exactly the lack of criminal charges being brought against these these thieves that sustains the lack of trust, as well as the virtual "Carte Blanche" that they enjoy. This bit about "systemic repercussions, " is just another hollow excuse for letting the "Good Old Boy" network remain untouched.
What HSBC did was flagrantly illegal! As well as immoral!

TomCat S (129)
Monday March 11, 2013, 3:45 am
They couldn't fight that harder!

. (0)
Monday March 11, 2013, 10:07 am
Central banks have been tarnished reprobates since Alexander Hamilton and the First Bank of America that Old Hickory abolished in 1834 for which they tried to impeach him. Then there's the rebirth of central banking pushed through by W. Wilson; the deliberated bankrupting of the Midwest and Southwest banks during the 1920s. Of course it really took off when Nixon removed the US from the gold standard and Clinton abolished the Glass-Steagal act in 1994. I wonder why the banks have such a tarnished reputation?

JL A (281)
Monday March 11, 2013, 10:36 am
Thanks for the additional relevant history Michael! You cannot currently send a star to Michael because you have done so within the last day.

Dorothy N (63)
Monday March 11, 2013, 7:35 pm
If I may add to, via rephrasing, janice b.'s question: Should regulators be making assumptions about the ability of financial institutions to manage the public's risk when the public is unknowingly forced to take them for the banks?

Once governments have been permitted to consider themselves 'above the law' - as NO-ONE and NOBODY actually is, under democracy - it's hardly surprising if they extend this boon to powerful interests.

It IS, however, destructive, unacceptable, and against the law of the lands where this occurs.

The principles of equal rights, opportunity and TREATMENT must apply to ALL.

Dorothy N (63)
Monday March 11, 2013, 10:45 pm

Roots Of Occupy: Wall Street Has Always Been War Street

By Mickey Z.

24 April, 2012
World News Trust

... Ultimately, it was little brother Allen who actually got to meet the German dictator, and eventually smoothed over the blatant Nazi ties of ITT’s Sosthenes Behn. “(Allen) Dulles was an originator of the idea that multinational corporations are instruments of U.S. foreign policy and therefore exempt from domestic laws,” Vankin writes.

Mic Check: This idea later took root in U.S.-dominated institutions and agreements like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and World Trade Organization (WTO). ...

JL A (281)
Tuesday March 12, 2013, 8:54 am
Thanks Dorothy for fleshing out much of the context of this issue!
You cannot currently send a star to Dorothy because you have done so within the last day.
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