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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kirsten Grind Blogging the WaMu Hearing

by Calculated Risk on 4/13/2010 01:06:00 PM

Kirsten Grind at the Puget Sound Business Journal is blogging from the WaMu hearing. How about this quote?

"My opinion is the OTS examiner in charge during the period of time I was there did an excellent job of finding and raising issues. Likewise, I found good performance from the FDIC examiner in charge. What I can't explain is why the superior in the agencies didn't take a tougher tone with banks, given the degree of negative findings. My experience with the OTS and OCC (Office of Comptroller of the Currency, another federal bank regulator) was completely different, so there seemed to be a tolerance there or political influence of senior management of those agencies that prevented them from taking more active stances — I mean, putting banks under letters of agreement and forcing change."
James Vanasek, who was the former chief risk and credit officer of WaMu from 1999 to 2005
We have seen this over and over. Every time the inspector general's office issues a report on a failed bank, the field examiners had correctly identified the problems - usually going back to 2003 or so - but no further action was taken.

Vanasek is arguing this was possibly because of "political influence of senior management of those agencies" - the political appointees in charge. I've heard the same thing from examiners.