Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Begins to Grill Bankers

“People are angry. They have a right to be,” says FCIC chair Angelides

Heather Murren and the rest of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission are questioning bank CEOs today. (Photo:

The American banking system has left citizens with a sour taste in their mouths. Despite massive bailouts, news of bank executives receiving bonuses and raises has raised the ire of an understandably unsympathetic public. We give them payday loans in the form of the bailouts, but are they handling the money responsibly? Will they pay it back? Have there been real signs that the system will be repaired so that future taxpayer-funded bailouts need not occur? There are questions for which the bi-partisan 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (former California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, Former State Representative Bill Thomas, former Nevada Cancer Institute Chair/CEO Heather Murren, et al) aims to find answers. They plan to have a report ready by December 15, 2010 that will offer policy recommendations for Congress, writes Mike Konczal at New Deal 2.0.

What’s on the docket?

Today, Wednesday January 13 will be the day that rings in the headlines. The Financial Institutions Representatives panel will question the CEO/Chair of each of America’s four major banks: Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, James Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America. This is the kind of juice Americans want to hear; they want to know that a new leaf has been turned over. An investor panel and a “Financial Crisis on the Economy” panel that looks at America’s meltdown from the perspective of “real people” will follow.

FDIC chair Sheila Bair will speak on Thursday regarding financial reform. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has openly tried to run her out of office because she’s been critical of his PPIP Plan that pumps too high an amount of “gross subsidies” (taxpayer dollars) into banks, so this should be interesting. Federal and state officials from Attorney General Eric Holder to various state AGs will be before the microphone this day, too.

Why is Heather Murren a high-ranking Google trend?

I haven’t seen the live footage, so I can’t say for certain. Heather Murren is asking the bank CEOs questions today along with the rest of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and she appears to be imminently qualified for the position. So I’ll just reach for the lowest common denominator and assume it’s because she’s the nicest looking member of the panel. Whatever the reason, America must get to the bottom of this under-regulated banking mess. No payday loans to people who don’t pay them back and use them irresponsibly, the people cry. As FCIC Chairman Angelides says, “If we ignore history, we’re doomed to bail it out again.”

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