Captain Renault was taken aback at the gambling going on in Rick’s casino. Imagine the surprise of the nation’s biggest banking executives when the President revealed that their lobbyists in Washington (the ones the commercial banks have paid $36 million this year) are opposing financial reform. Gasp! As reported in the Wall Street Journal:
Chief executives of the largest U.S. banks acknowledged Monday the
"disconnect" between their expressed support for re-regulating
financial markets and the work of their lobbyists to weaken any new
The executives pledged during a White House meeting with President
Barack Obama that they would personally intervene on behalf of the
Some of the CEOs said their lobbyists had taken stronger stands than
they would have wanted, an assertion met with raised eyebrows on
Capitol Hill. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank
(D, Mass.), chief architect of financial-overhaul legislation in that
chamber, said in an interview he was "highly skeptical."
…House and Senate aides familiar with the lobbying effort said Jamie
Dimon, chairman and chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase, personally
worked against the new consumer-protection regulator. They said his
company organized mom-and-pop businesses to contact senators to express
concern about proposed strong new controls on derivatives trading.
The CEOs were all chagrin and promises when publicly taken to task by the President in Washington yesterday. (Citigroup, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs CEOs didn’t make it, reportedly unable to fly due to fog. Coincidence?) But the banks’ mock state of shock isn’t the same as switching to the side of real financial reform.