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Wall Street’s Meaningless ‘Mea Culpas’

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 18, 2011 8:56 AM |

“I’m sorry. No, really I am. I did not mean to do it….er, I mean we did not mean to do it. I hope nobody got too badly hurt. Oh, sorry if you did. Really, I mean it and we mean it. I think we were well intentioned but things just got a little out of control. We will definitely try to make sure this stuff NEVER happens again…no, really. This time we definitely mean it. Will you still trust us? Please?”

Are you kidding me? Is “sorry” the best America gets for the ineptitude, incompetence, reckless and abusive behaviors of those on Wall Street and their regulatory overseers in Washington after driving our markets and economy over the cliff?

Who is issuing these meaningless mea culpas?

Try JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve Donald Kohn. Yesterday Dimon said as much at the JP Morgan annual shareholders meeting held in Columbus, Ohio. Bloomberg highlights, Dimon’s  Annual Meeting Brings Apology,

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co. chairman and chief executive officer, said he was sorry for foreclosure mistakes as hundreds of protesters at the annual meeting demanded he do more to help homeowners and small businesses recover from the financial crisis.

For any errors that were made, “we deeply apologize,” Dimon, 55, said today at the shareholders’ meeting in a 2- million-square-foot office building in Columbus, Ohio. “We are doing everything we can to keep people in their homes that should stay in their homes.” Dimon said he especially regretted the bank’s mistakes in foreclosing on active-duty military personnel and for fumbling paperwork on other home seizures.

Dimon’s mea culpa is more than matched by Donald Kohn’s ‘come to Jesus’ statements highlighted in today’s Financial Times‘. The FT writes, Kohn Regrets Pains of Millions in Crisis,

The former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve has said he “deeply regretted” the pain caused to millions of people around the world from the financial crisis, admitting that “the cops weren’t on the beat”.

Regular readers are attuned to my immediate rejoinder to Kohn’s weak kneed and failed attempt at closure. So Donald, “if the cops were not on the beat, where the hell were they, with whom, and just what the heck were they doing?” But let’s listen to more of what Mr. Kohn has to say.

“I deeply regret the pain that was caused to millions of people in the US and around the world by the financial crisis … Most of the blame should be on the private sector: the people that bought and sold those securities, on the credit rating agencies that rated them. But I also agree that the cops weren’t on the beat,” he said

“The regulators were not as alert to the risks as they could have been and, to the extent they saw the risks, were not as forceful in bringing them to the attention of management, or taking actions, as they could have been. All this with 20/20 hindsight obviously.”

Enough of the bulls*&t!!

Both Dimon and Kohn can save their mea culpas. What do the citizens of America and the world really want from these financial ne’er do wells?

OPEN THE BOOKS, BOYS!!

Jamie, let’s see what was really going on within the mortgage origination and servicing practice at JP Morgan and compel your friends at Citi, BofA, Ally, and Wells Fargo to do the same.

As for you Donald, while I hold out little hope that Big Ben and his sidekick Timmy will be forthcoming with any further details about activities at the Fed or Treasury, you certainly can carry real weight in compelling Mary Schapiro to OPEN THE BOOKS at the SEC and especially Wall Street’s self-regulator FINRA.

Yes, the crowd from the SEC and FINRA were the real cops on the beat while the honchos upstairs at the Fed and elsewhere must have seemingly been ordering another box of glazed and Boston creams.

Donald, perhaps you may like to be a witness on behalf of Elton Johnson’s lawsuit agaisnt FINRA compelling FINRA to open its books. See to date, both Mary Schapiro and the FINRA board are taking the Mark McGwire approach of not truly wanting to talk about the past. I highlighted as much this past February,

How has FINRA responded to calls by Johnson and others within the industry for real transparency? Largely with lip service, a cold shoulder, and when need be, a plea of immunity. What? Immunity? Yep, that’s right. FINRA conveniently and effectively utilizes a plea of immunity to obviate the call for transparency by Johnson and others. Is this America? FINRA may report through the SEC, but it is a private organization. Immunity? I call it ARROGANCE! That said, the battle wages on and the pursuit of transparency continues.

Without real meaningful transparency, sorry means NOTHING!! As such, Dimon and Kohn may ultimately be nothing more than bit players in the American rendition of a serenade provided by some Irish counterparts earlier this year. Let’s take a listen!!

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time to subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitteror Facebook? Please get your friends and colleagues to do the same. Thanks!!

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

 

  • Elton

    Coincidence or something more than that.

    Elton Johnson’s lawsuit against FINRA and Elton John’s song in the video clip.

  • Jim

    Sorry on one hand while the money flows from American taxpayers into these banks on the other.

    Cry me a river!!

  • fred

    Only one thing bothers me more than a hollow apology from failed leadership; leadership that takes responsibility but refuses to suffer any consequences.

  • Excellent commentary. Too bad we aren’t seeing more in the mainstream media. In this case, “sorry” only heightens the outrage. And I agree with Fred: where’s the bloody claw back?






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