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Steve Chiotakis: We’re set to hear today from some executives at banks that took bank rescue money last fall. They’ll testify before the House Financial Services Committee. It’s likely to be more ritual sacrifice for them than testimony. Here’s Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson.
Jeremy Hobson: I know the U.S. doesn’t torture, but if today’s hearing is anything like the one yesterday in the British Parliament . . .
Michael Fallon: You were in charge of this board, you’ve destroyed a great British bank, you’ve cost the taxpayer 20 billion pounds.
Well, let’s just say C-SPAN’s ratings will be higher than usual.
Bankers on the stand will include Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit, Bank of America’s Ken Lewis, and Morgan Stanley’s John Mack. They’ll be defending the industry’s use of $176 billion in taxpayer assistance.
Banks are under pressure to increase lending, and some are accused of hoarding government dollars instead of making them available to customers. The biggest fireworks, however, are likely to involve bonuses, jets and lavish parties, like the multimillion-dollar Superbowl bash the barren Bank of America threw.
Whether lawmakers leave time to ask about the second phase of the bank bailout remains to be seen.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.