Chief executives of the nations major banks testified before Congress today that they are lending money in the face of a down economy more than they would have otherwise because of capital infusions from the federal government.
The CEOs all made clear that they plan to pay back as soon as possible the more than $160 billion the eight banks have collectively received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
But the humble tone the CEOs adopted at the witness table before the House Financial Services Committee including an apology from John Mack, Morgan Stanley chairman and CEO, over mistakes that the industry had made was not enough to spare them a public flogging by many legislators, who made it clear they blame Wall Street for much of the nations economic downturn.
America doesnt trust you any more, said Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass.
Theres a great deal of anger in this country, added Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., committee chairman. I urge you going forward to be ungrudgingly cooperative.
Despite the criticisms of the lawmakers, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it was unfair to blame the nations major investment banks for all the credit woes. There is a huge amount of non-bank lending that has disappeared, Mr. Dimon said.
None of the eight CEOs including Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Kenneth Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America; and Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup opposed the concept of creating a new so-called super regulator to guard against a similar economic crisis.
It would be a tremendous benefit to having one regulator looking at anything that could cause systemic risk, Mr. Dimon said.