20080515 horst kohler 73566346 18
German President Horst Kohler - 

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Renita Jablonski: Global financial markets have turned into a "monster." That's according to the German president. He blames bankers for what he calls a massive destruction of assets, and he wants tougher regulations. Stephen Beard has more.


Stephen Beard: President Kohler was once a spokesman for the banking industry, but he doesn't mince his words about bankers. He says they've created a monster by using complex financial products and betting with large amounts of borrowed money. Kohler says what he calls "excessive" bankers pay caused the subprime crisis.

The remarks reflect a widespread discontent in Germany, says Bertrand Benoit of The Financial Times. While the German economy has boomed and bankers have prospered, most ordinary workers have not.

Bertrand Benoit: There's a bit of resentment from a population that sees its economy doing so well, and at the same time feels at least that it's not getting much benefit from it. And so there's a bit of resentment with bankers.

Kohler's call for controls over bankers' pay was echoed yesterday in a meeting of European finance ministers. They described excessive remuneration as "scandalous."

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.