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Wall Street’s Sleeping Cops Head to the Hill Tomorrow

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

The House Financial Services Committee, Chaired by Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, has been doing the heavy lifting for Congress when it comes to oversight of the mega banks on Wall Street. After grilling the CEOs of these banks on April 10, the Committee will convene again tomorrow to grill the Federal regulators of these serially charged mega banks.

The witness list includes: Rodney Hood, Chairman, National Credit Union Administration; Jelena McWilliams, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Joseph Otting, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); and Randal Quarles, Vice Chairman of Supervision, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The Committee has released a very impressive Memorandum, which lays out the Frankenbank framework that exists in the United States today. For example, consider this one sentence from the Memorandum:

“U.S. G-SIBs [Global Systemically Important Banks] made $780 billion in profits over the last 10 years while paying at least $163.7 billion in fines, though there have been few examples where prudential regulators utilized their extensive authorities to impose more severe penalties.”

The profits versus the fines clearly suggest that Senator Bernie Sanders may need to refine his meme that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud” to “the profit model of Wall Street is fraud built around the reality that Big Law will get the banks continually off the hook for pennies on the dollar and no jail time in exchange for billable hours and a revolving door to the Justice Department.”

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