Ten Questions For The Bankers

Tyler Durden's picture

This post originally appeared on New Deal 2.0.

A terrific list of questions that the FCIC should ask banker executives, conceived by the trio of Eliot Spitzer, William Black and Frank Portnoy.

1. AIG: What was your firm's relationship with AIG?
How much exposure did you have to AIG? What information did you
publicly disclose about that exposure? Did you think AIG's CDS strategy
was "good business"? Do you think we still would have needed to rescue
AIG if its derivatives had been centrally cleared, as some in Congress
have proposed?

2. Disclosure: Were your financial statements
during 2005-08 accurate? What did your officers disclose to your board
about your bank's exposure to the nonprime mortgage markets before
2008? What specific information did you publicly disclose about your
exposure to derivatives and nonprime mortgages? When did officers or
employees of your firm recognize that there was a serious risk of a
housing bubble? What did they recommend, and what changes did the firm
implement, in response to the identification of this risk? Why?

3. Pay: What was your bank's total compensation for
officers for each year from 2001 to the present? What were the
components of that compensation? Identify and explain where
compensation created perverse incentives in the following contexts:
your bank, other banks, executive compensation advisory firms, audit
firms, appraisers, rating agencies, loan brokers, loan officers? What
aspects of compensation produced these perverse incentives? When did
employees of your bank become aware of the literature in economics,
criminology, and compensation warning of these perverse incentives?
What specific actions did the bank take in response? Which elements of
your bank's compensation system create perverse incentives?

4. Ratings: Why do you think the rating agencies
gave AAA ratings to toxic CDOs? Did you think CDO credit ratings
accurately reflected their credit worthiness? Did employees of your
bank ever express concerns internally/publicly about the judgment of
the ratings agencies? If so, when was the first time?

5. Moral hazard: What incentives at your
institution helped lead to the financial crisis? What conversations did
you have with the Fed regarding your exposure to CDS and other
derivatives? What monetary value would you place on the government
guarantee of your deposits?

6. Mortgage fraud: Name the three nonprime
specialty lenders with the worst reputations for originating fraudulent
mortgages. Name the three nonprime specialty lenders with the worst
reputations for originating predatory loans. Is there any legitimate
business reason why a secured lender would seek to induce appraisers to
inflate the value of the secured property? When did employees of your
bank become aware that coercion of appraisers to inflate appraised
values was becoming common? What action did they take or recommend when
they became aware?

7. Warnings: What were the three most significant
specific steps your banks took in response to the FBI's September 2004
warning that the developing "epidemic" of mortgage fraud would produce
a crisis if it were not stemmed? Why do you think the spread on
nonprime mortgages fell after this warning, and other warnings? Why did
bank loss reserves also fall during this time? What were your bank's
analyses of these risks and the adequacy of loss reserves
(industry-wide and at your bank) and how did they change as the markets
exhibited these perverse patterns? What did your bank's officers
recommend that the bank do in response to these perverse market
conditions and what actions did the bank actually take? Were the
industry reactions, and your bank's reactions, to the warnings

8. Lobbying: How much has your bank spent on
lobbying over the last five years? This year? How many additional
personnel has your bank hired full-time or as consultants to lobby the
federal government?

9. Crimes: How many criminal referrals has your
bank made for mortgage-related frauds in each year beginning in 2002?
How many named your own officers or employees? Does the FBI have
adequate resources to investigate such frauds? Explain how an epidemic
of mortgage fraud must lead to widespread accounting and securities
fraud if the mortgage paper is to be resold.

10. Regulation: Did the passage of the Commodities
Futures Modernization Act of 2000 contribute to the crisis? Did the
federal regulators' efforts to preempt state regulation of predatory
mortgage lenders contribute to the crisis? Should the Federal Reserve
have used its authority under HOEPA to regulate nonprime lending during
the financial bubble? Provide any contemporaneous analyses of the role
of regulation, deregulation, and desupervision in contributing to the
crisis. Did your bank lobby (directly or indirectly through trade
associations) in support of deregulatory efforts that contributed to
the crisis?

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Quackking's picture


This link has a great picture of J.P. Morgan Jr., with circus performer Lya Graf on his knee, during the Pecora Investigation by the Senate Banking and Currency Committee in 1933.

Or was that Timayy?



Rainman's picture

Question Number 10 is excellent. CFMA 2000 is a rarely cited piece of legislation that opened the door to unregulated derivatives trading. Glass-Steagall and CFMA were the one-two punch for this whole economic disaster.

On a related note, it would cost $ 745 billion to bring all currently  underwater homeowners to a position of zero equity.


bugs_'s picture

Hard Core.  Too Hard Core.  Brutal.

phaesed's picture

Great questions, but we all know the only question that matters to Senators:

- How much will you pay me if I vote 'nay' to any audit?

Problem Is's picture

I Can Do It In 2 Questions

"One of you 5 Wall Street Banks is going down for fraud. Somebody has to be the fall guy. Somebody has to be the Timmay G. Somebody has to be liquidated and the whole crew has to go hang for a decade at Bernie's... eg Federal prison. Submit the answer to these two questions. The bank that provides the least details and the weakest answers goes down."

1. Why should your bank not go down?

2. If not you... then name the bank that should, why they should, how were they the worst, what methods and accomplices did they use?

Warning: If you play game theory and none of you provide anything... we draw three names out of the hat and all three will go down. You will then have a 40% survival rate. You are all compulsive gamblers here... Do you feel lucky punk?

Okay you can make the argument Q2 is really 3 questions. I say it is one but I needed to close Jamie and Lloyd's wiggle room.

Anonymous's picture

I know, Let's declare them "Financial Terrorists" and strip them of their citizenship and use all the Advanced Interrogation methods Cheney took glee in?

Ah, if only it would be.

Problem Is's picture

I would be for a fair trial... but in a systemically corrupt market society where the oligarchy operate criminally and with impunity this is not possible. There have been ZERO non torpedoed investigations or charges.

Let us not forget, junk bond worm and S&L fraudster through looting Lincoln S&L Michael "The Philanthropist" Milken faced a 98 count felony indictment in '89 shortly after the last junk bond frauds were exposed. Of course Michael the Worm weaseled out of most of the charges and punitive measures...

So anony, you keep playing by the rules while the elites that own you do not. You keep believing the Myth Narrative hoisted upon you by incessant propaganda that in America markets are true blue and every one plays fair, we spread goodness and democracy throughout the world and you keep taking it in the ass by the system you so love.

Now wave your little flag <here>.

Cistercian's picture

 Watching them answer under oath could make a fortune if it were pay per view.

The subsequent arrests and very long incarcerations would be nice too.

 IE:Won't happen.

 Unless unruly mobs descend on NYC and Washington.

 What am I thinking?That would get zero airtime, and videos of the troop response would be hard to come by indeed.



 Hopefully, we will get to see some of these answered.I predict timmay's imminent sacrifice to appease the rising anger of America.It will be sordid....and change nothing.

Anonymous's picture

Hey, look at it this way... if not for his stint at the Treasury, he never would have paid his back taxes.

Apocalypse Now's picture

One question for the readers, will you read Andrew Jacksons' farewell Address?:


He describes our current state better than any current media source I have read, and does it without any technical jargon - just plain facts.

In this speech is the essence of all of our troubles, and the solution.

Miyagi_san's picture

Ah...A simpler time when all you needed was the Constitution and the Integrity to uphold it. Politicians today were born of corrupt cronyism that are guided by greed.

Anonymous's picture

Eisenhower's farewell address gets better all the time. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html See esp. "the insolvent phantom of tomorrow".

J1mB0b's picture

Thanks for the reference.

I just read it ... well worth the wade (& I'm Canadian).


Cheeky Bastard's picture

Also, JFK speech about " The men behind the curtain ". Probably one of the most important and overlooked speeches of the 20th century. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZk8ronces

Anonymous's picture

I'm assuming you meant this passage, right?

"The States which had so long been retarded in their improvement by the Indian tribes residing in the midst of them are at length relieved from the evil, and this unhappy race--the original dwellers in our land--are now placed in a situation where we may well hope that they will share in the blessings of civilization and be saved from that degradation and destruction to which they were rapidly' hastening while they remained in the States; and while the safety and comfort of our own citizens have been greatly promoted by their removal, the philanthropist will rejoice that the remnant of that ill-fated race has been at length placed beyond the reach of injury or oppression, and that the paternal care of the General Government will hereafter watch over them and protect them."

Good ole' Andrew Jackson indeed.

Apocalypse Now's picture

Banking apologist, trying to change the subject.  Apparently you do not agree that the Native Americans should have been preserved beyond the reach of injury or oppression, and that the paternal care of the General Government will watch over and protect them.  Are you pro-banker and anti-Native American?  Do you have a problem with Indian gaming/gambling?

You obviously did not read the link.

Anonymous's picture

Have no fear, flat-earther. When the time comes, and your precious Stars and Bars rises again, we apologists shall allow you to eat cake.

Apocalypse Now's picture

You are not a logical individual, as the shape of the earth has nothing to do with the topic at hand or the comment - you are trying to change the subject again and are grasping at straws for a weak ad hominem attack.  Your statements only reflect your low IQ and you embarass yourself while you believe you are clever, even if you are not smart enough to understand why.

Rest assured, I have no fear, but I hope you escape the fate of Marie Antoinette who used similar words.

Anonymous's picture

What stocks did your firm short in 2008 -- we want to see the records.

vachon's picture

Ohhh, I like it.

ozziindaus's picture

Reconfirms Spitzers derailment by the banks and SEC. His due diligence had nothing to do with his personal disposition. Same applies to Blagojevich.

Fritz's picture

All great questions that should be asked in conjunction with a waterboarding session. 

Anonymous's picture

Do the committee members too, for good measure.

Anonymous's picture

So, who's going to ask question 8? Certainly not the congress-critters being lobbied.

MarketTruth's picture


Let me know when ZeroHedge actually suggests something of real action like all their readers to do a bank run, labor strikes, etc because it seems to me it is all talk and jabber jawing just like the banksters and congress.

The time for talk has ended.



Well ZeroHedge writers, time for you to in unison write articles on ACTIONS to be taken in hopes of real change.

Rick64's picture

I agree, its time to do something instead of only talking about it. There are many options.

RoastingBankers's picture

id love to fight them in a ring

i can take on 3 at a time.

Molon Labe's picture

11.  Yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife?

Mingy's picture

Its a shame what happened to Spitzer, who better to be going after these scumbag bankers then this bulldog?

Anonymous's picture

“… the whole atmosphere of every prison is an atmosphere of glorification of that sort of gambling in “clever strokes” which constitutes the very essence of theft, swindling and all sorts of similar anti-social deeds.”

PKropotkin’s Memoirs, ca 1899

Anonymous's picture

Another question:

If there had been no TARP, no ZIRP, no TALF, etc., no $550 billion of Treasury purchases by the Fed, no $1.25 trillion MBS purchases by the Fed, no explicit TBTF backstop, no FDIC guaranteeing of your debt issuance, no accounting rule changes, and no hotline phone to Paulson/Geithner/Bernanke, would any of you still be here today and would any of your staff be smacking their lips over their bonuses?

Anonymous's picture

Great questions, although if asked in public the committee will be stonewalled. Rather, I suggest these be submitted to them in writing by the committee and the CEOs be given a specific time frame to answer them....in writing. If asked without being given forewarning, the CEOs will simply say they don't have that data at hand to accurately answer the question. Questions that don't require data will be answered vaguely. My suggestion forces the issue.

Anonymous's picture

stupid questions , from stupid people....