Christy Romero: 'These bankers lied, pure and simple'
Yes, the financial system has stabilized, in part due to the Tarp bailout, but are we rid of the toxic corporate culture that led to the financial crisis? Not sufficiently.
Excessive executive pay is still far too routine, in spite of corporate scandals and continued losses. The root cause of the financial crisis was a pervasive culture of rampant risk-taking and greed, combined with unchecked power.
This destructive culture existed not only in the largest financial companies on Wall Street, but also in banks outside of Wall Street.
At SIGTARP, we have arrested and continue to arrest bankers who cultivated a culture of reckless arrogance, believing they were untouchable even as they broke the law.
When their risky gambling went south these bankers lied, plain and simple. They hid bad loans and bad balance sheets through illegal accounting trickery. Some sought taxpayer dollars to fill in the holes on the fraud-riddled books. Some criminally concealed that the bank itself was funding their luxury lifestyles, believing they were entitled to the best even while they foreclosed on homeowners.
Regulators can change the rules of the road, but there will be those who specialize in loopholes, workarounds and criminal deception. At SIGTARP, we will continue to change corrupt culture the way we do it best, by putting as many rotten apples in jail...