and Democrats are on board to reform the Fed. Now is the time. If they are not up to the job, perhaps a third-party presidential candidate
is a viable option in 2016.
Following the financial collapse in 2008, Congress created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the causes of the financial debacle. The Commission learned from the Federal Reserve Bank regulators of Citigroup that they overlooked the key risk areas within the bank. Specifically, they placed very little weight on the volume and risk level of the Citigroup derivatives operation.
Citigroup received more than $400 billion in funds and guarantees from the Fed and the government — more than any other financial institution.
In compliance with a Congressional mandate, in 2011 the New York Federal Reserve Bank hired a significant number of examiners with expertise in compliance, credit risk and operations. They were strategically stationed inside Citigroup, Goldman, JPMorgan Chase and other "systemically important financial institutions" to monitor and maintain the safety of the financial system.
Despite this extensive coterie of regulatory supervisors, the financial institutions have not provided the adequate transparency to them. Based on secret recordings provided by Carmen Segarra, a former New York Fed supervisor, some financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, may have precluded or undermined proper investigations of their operations.
Segarra has sued the New York Fed and two supervisors
for wrongful termination. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a senior democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, plans to explore Segarra's accusations in a hearing this week.
Recently, two Goldman Sachs employees were terminated for unauthorized use of confidential financial supervisory data. One employee, who had been a Fed regulator for many years, may have received this information from a current regulator.
For more than a year, two Federal Reserve Board of Governors
positions have remained unfilled.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., both members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, recommend appointing individuals with experience in risk assessment, regulatory supervision and the perseverance to pursue and adjudicate inappropriate, unethical and illegal activities that can be detrimental to our financial and economic system. Unfortunately, the individuals that fill the other five positions apparently lack these credentials, according to the senators.
To date, many prominent Republicans and Democrats have rightfully objected to this lack of competent oversight of an industry that can have such disastrous impact on the U.S. and the world.
However, it is crystal clear that the lessons from 2008 have not been learned well, especially by the financial institutions and the regulators that regulate them.
If the two parties are not able to make significant progress in this regard in the coming year, the viability of a third-party presidential candidate becomes more probable in 2016.
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