AFR Statement on Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report

DATE: January 27, 2011

CONTACT: John Carey at 202-466-1854


Washington, DC – Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), the diverse coalition that fought for passage of Wall Street reform last summer, released the following statement:

It is important that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s majority report – based on 19 hearings and 700 interviews lays out some of the abusive, reckless, and sometimes criminal behavior on Wall Street that caused the financial crisis, and cost Americans millions of lost jobs, billions in tax-payer funded bailouts and trillions in lost homes and savings. We must document what led to the financial crisis, and learn lessons from it so that neither the financial industry nor regulators are allowed to repeat their devastating failures.

These failures make the case for strong implementation of the 2010 Financial Reform law; for holding individual corporate heads, financial institutions, and regulators who abetted wrongdoing, accountable, including through prosecution; and for more action to end the ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ privileges of the biggest Wall Street banks and to redirect the financial system to support families and businesses looking to invest and grow. We need to protect and strengthen laws that rein in Wall Street abuses; we need to fund agencies like the CFTC and SEC crucial to enforcing them; and we need to hold Wall Street accountable for following them. Financial industry interests that lost important fights in the battle over Wall Street reform last year are working now to reverse those decisions in the regulatory process; by defunding the cops we need to police the rules as the CFTC and SEC must do for new derivatives regulations, and even to roll back the new consumer protections and transparency for the shadow markets. But the public’s broad support for Wall Street Reform will only grow as evidence continues to emerge of the details of the Wall Street actions that caused the crisis.

Only this week, for example, stories are emerging in a lawsuit filed by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance against Bear Stearns, now owned by JPMorgan Chase, that show executives stunning disregard for the truth, and for contractual obligations to clients, with high ranking traders knowing and even bragging about how they were ripping off investors.

Unbelievably, instead of getting tough on Wall Street, the dissenting Commission members decided to absolve the financial industry of all responsibility – going so far as to support banishing key words – including ‘Wall Street,’ ‘shadow banking,’ ‘interconnection,’ and ‘deregulation’ from the report vocabulary entirely. This approach rewards and therefore perpetuates Wall Street’s bad behavior, and that’s unconscionable. Thankfully, the public has no appetite for moving backwards on Wall Street Reform.