Sunday, April 11, 2010

Greenspan on Capitol Hot Seat

Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan faced some of the toughest questioning yet about his role in the financial crisis at a hearing Wednesday marked by tense exchanges with a longtime foe. Later in the day, members of the congressionally chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission also ripped Citigroup Inc. executives for their role in the subprime meltdown, where Citigroup was a major casualty. The commission is holding three days of hearings on the evolution of the subprime market. Panel members repeatedly questioned why Mr. Greenspan didn't do more to stem the flow of risky subprime loans, pop the resulting real-estate bubble or prevent use of exotic derivatives to expand the market. Commissioner Brooksley Born, a former federal regulator, said the Fed "utterly failed to prevent the financial crisis." She used the word "fail" nine times in a lengthy series of questions.
"Didn't the Federal Reserve System fail to meet its responsibilities, fail to carry [out] its mandates?" she said.
Commission Chairman Phil Angelides added his own criticisms of the Fed's approach to subprime regulation. "My view is…you could have, you should have, and you didn't," he told Mr. Greenspan.

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