A call to tame a financial 'monster'

German President Horst Kohler


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.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...