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Bill Black: Bank CEOs Led Huge Fraud

By Julie Crawshaw   |   Tuesday, 07 Apr 2009 09:47 AM

Former senior bank regulator Bill Black says CEOs of banks and mortgage companies caused the economic meltdown by intentionally making bad loans at high interest rates.

They followed this by making more such loans — which created very rapid, Ponzi-like growth — then borrowed a lot of money.

“The combination creates a situation where you have guaranteed record profits in the early years,” Black told PBS.

“That makes you rich through the bonuses (that) modern executive compensation has produced.”

“It also makes it inevitable that there’s going to be a disaster down the road.”

This way of doing business completely suborns banks’ internal controls, says Black, author of “The Best Way To Rob a Bank is to Own One.”

He notes that regulators didn’t even begin to investigate major lenders until the market had already collapsed.

Worse, though the FBI publicly warned of mortgage fraud in 2004, by then the Justice Department had reassigned 500 agents from monitoring white-collar crime to investigating terrorism.

Because the Bush administration refused to replace these agents, the FBI now has one-fifth the number of agents it had to work during the 1980s savings and loan investigations, which Black led.

New consolidated guidelines for FBI investigations are designed to provide a single, consistent structure that applies regardless of the type of crime the agency is investigating, the Post Chronicle reports.

The new guideline set replaces the five guideline sets used in the past.

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Former senior bank regulator Bill Black says CEOs of banks and mortgage companies caused the economic meltdown by intentionally making bad loans at high interest rates. They followed this by making more such loans — which created very rapid, Ponzi-like growth — then...
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