Yes, Banks Have No Shame

Joe Nocera of The New York Times asks "Have Banks No Shame?" in response to their opposition to new consumer protections proposed in the wake of the biggest bank bailout in history. In the piece, Nocera reports that Simon Baker, a former International Monetary Fund economist, calls the banks' opposition "unconscionable," stating:

“They can’t pay what they owe!” he began angrily. Then he paused, collected his thoughts and started over: “Tim Geithner saved them on terms extremely favorable to the banks. They should support all of his proposed reforms.”

Nocera also notes that Edward Yingling's American Bankers Association has urged its members to call Congress and oppose Congressman Barney Frank's bill to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to help protect consumers and better police the industry. (Yingling was chosen by the Center for Media and Democracy for its first "Golden Throne Award," named after the million-dollar bathroom ordered by Merrill Lynch''s John Thain shortly before that firm lost $27 billion.)

True to form, in the story, Yingling shamelessly attempts to dismiss the push for bank reform as simply "rounding up the usual suspects," meaning the poor, innocent banks. Yet, the bankers who helped crash the economy have yet to actually be treated as the true suspects they are. In the meantime, banks benefiting from the taxpayer bailout are reporting huge profits on excessive bank fees and overdraft charges paid by whom? Taxpayers. And, these taxpayer bailout recipients are still spending big bucks on lobbyists like Yingling. No shame, indeed.