New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: Bailout risk is still present

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (C) speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department on January 27, 2012 in Washington, DC.

One of the top cops on Wall Street isn't a federal official. He's Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general for the State of New York. Right now, he's got his eyes on the big credit rating agencies and the role they played in the financial crisis.

Schniederman spoke with Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson about financial reform and accountability.

On settlements versus going to court:

"This, you know, is the way our legal system is structured. There are really two competing goals here. One is accountability, and that is certainly one of our key goals. We want the people who brought about the worst crash since the Great Depression to be held accountable for their conduct. But the other is getting relief to the people who were injured. We certainly have more of a commitment, and a commitment at a higher level, than we ever have had to trying to do justice in this area, and I think you will see more cases being brought in the months ahead."

On what's changed since the period before the 2008 financial crisis:

"I do think there still is a lot of room for improvement. I think unfortunately, the net-net is that the banks are more concentrated than ever, the potential for bailout is still there. The notion that is embodied in the law that has been passed [is] of a systemically important financial institution. The whole idea is that this is so important that they should have a different set of rules than a smaller institution, and that's something I just don't buy. Dodd Frank is a work in progress, there will be more legislation... You will never get back the confidence of the small investors, until you get rid of this idea that this is an insider's game, and I think it's in everyone's long term interest to clear this all up."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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The United States jails more people proportionally than any country in the world, and we refuse to bring to justice some of the world's biggest crooks in the finance industry. Our elected officials and regulators are part of the same crime family. While Mr. Schneiderman is a fast talker, come on, he is a former defense attorney for the securities industry, one of Tony Soprano's boys. While in college I spent a year in South America thinking how corrupt the leaders were. How wrong I was. The most sophisticated and institutionalized crooks in the world are in the US. Our leaders are a part of it. Viva la mafia!

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