Bowen's testimony came on the first of three days of hearings by the FCIC. Earlier Wednesday, Alan Greenspan defended his tenure as head of the Federal Reserve in the years leading up to the crisis. As he has in the past, Greenspan disputed critics who say he kept interest rates too low for too long, encouraging risky lending.
a litany of other parties and historical events for the meltdown but accepted no responsibility for himself or the Fed, which he led from 1987 until early 2006.
Greenspan said demand from the government backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac inflated the housing bubble. He said the government policy of encouraging homeownership pushed Fannie and Freddie to create demand for risky loans. Those firms play a vital role in the mortgage market by buying up mortgage loans and packaging them into bonds that are resold to global investors.
In any case, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, the Greenspan Fed's decision not to set national mortgage lending standards was a key factor in the housing bubble far more so than Fannie and Freddie. model of light regulation fell into crisis. "They just never acted on it. That was a clear policy decision."
WASHINGTON A former mortgage executive from Citigroup Inc. has accused bank executives of violating their own risk management policies and ignoring his warnings about the coming financial crisis.
Citigroupexec warned Omega Speedmaster Titanium Blue Dial
"The aggressive monetary policy in the wake of the tech bubble contributed to the inflating of the housing bubble," Zandi said. "There's strong evidence that the Federal Reserve kept interest rates too low for too long."
Bowen said at the hearing that he doesn't know whether any executives acted on his warnings about the bank's purchase of suspect mortgages.
Republicans say those companies, with the government's encouragement, deserve most of the blame for propping up the housing bubble. But Democrats argue that Fannie and Freddie lowered their lending standards to compete with big Wall Street players who were gaining market share during the boom years.
Greenspan pointed to a series of actions he said the Fed took. Angelides countered that the Fed's actions covered only 1 percent of the subprime lending market.
In testimony to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Bowen said he discovered in mid 2006 that more than 60 percent of the mortgages bought and resold by subprime subsidiary Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th Anniversary
In his opening remarks, Greenspan blamed Omega Seamaster Professional 300m James Bond
Citifinancial Mortgage didn't meet Citigroup's underwriting standards. He was responsible for loans bought from other lenders. Many of these loans were bundled and sold as complex investments.
Richard Bowen on Wednesday told a panel investigating the roots of the crisis that he raised concerns about mortgage risk starting in 2006. He said he sent an e mail about it to former Chairman Robert Rubin and others in November 2007.
Citigroup disputed his account. Spokeswoman Molly Meiners said in a statement that the issues Bowen raised were "promptly and carefully reviewed when he raised them and corrective actions were taken."
He would not cite any specific failures, except banks' and regulators' collective failure to anticipate that so many challenges would hit the financial system at once.
crisis on way
"You could've, you should've and you didn't" regulate the lending activities, he said.
A panel of witnesses is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 7, 2010, as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) examined the causes of the collapse of major financial institutions caused by subprime lending. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
He said excess saving in developing nations left too much money in the system. And he said credit rating agencies undercounted the risk of mortgage investments.
"Why, in the face of all that, did you not act to contain abusive, deceptive subprime lending?" Angelides, a former California state treasurer, asked Greenspan.
Bowen sent weekly messages to managers raising concerns about his group's risk management. But he wrote to Rubin and other executives in 2007, "These breakdowns have not been communicated to or recognized by" Citi's top audit or finance executives.
But Phil Angelides, the panel chairman, referred to internal Fed documents in which staffers had recommended "broad prohibitions on deceptive Omega Seamaster Cosmic 1970 lending." Angelides said the Fed had issued guidance on predatory lending but had failed to regulate it.
Zandi also rebutted Greenspan's argument that his Fed's low interest rate policy played no role.
Greenspan also hit back against criticism that his Fed failed to regulate high risk loans to borrowers who couldn't afford the debt. Many of those loans became the toxic assets that sparked the crisis.
Regarding his own missteps over his two decades as Fed chair, Greenspan said, "I was wrong 30 percent of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years."
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