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Bank Bosses Apologize

02.10.2009 - Banking fat cats say 'we're sorry'

The former bosses of two of the UK's biggest banks, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), apologized for their banks' failure in front of the Treasury Commettee earlier today.

Lord Stevenson, former chairman of HBOS, told MPs: "We are profoundly and, I think I would say, unreservedly sorry at the turn of events," adding, "I would also say we are sorry at the effect it has had on the communities we serve."

Sir Tom, former chairman of RBS, added: "In November last year I made a full apology, unreserved apology, both personally and on behalf of the board, and Iím very happy to repeat that this morning. We were particularly concerned at the serious impact on shareholders, staff, and indeed the anxiety it caused to customers, so I would very much echo Dennis Stevensonís comments."

These apologies came after it was revealed that HBOS had fired and then gave a gagging order to Paul Moore, an outspoken risk manager who warned of the bank's irresponsible risk taking.

"Anyone whose eyes were not blinded by money, power and pride' would have realised problems were mounting for HBOS and other banks," said Mr. Moore.

Mr. Moore was fired by then boss Sir James Crosby and replaced by someone with no risk experience. Curiously, Sir James is currently deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority and one of the Prime Minister's preferred private sector advisers.

Playing down the incident, Lord Stevenson simply said: "I remember the incident very well. It was taken very seriously by the board."

When the committee asked the bosses whether they agreed that the bonus system (where bankers can receive many times their salary) needed to be reconsidered, they agreed. However, they stressed that it should not be done away with because staff would move on if they weren't rewarded.

After the hearing, Treasury Committee chairman John McFall said he detected "a hint of arrogance" in the bankers' apologies.

"They did give an apology and it seemed fulsome, but, as the session went on, I think they were drawing back from that and saying 'Well, look, there were events outside our control,'" said Mr. McFall.

These former bank bosses think they're off the hook now that they've apologized. But the truth is that they've cost people their jobs, homes, and lives. Saying sorry doesn't change anything, especially when it's obvious that their apologies were insincere. These people need to be stripped of their wealth and thrown in prison. This money needs to be sent to us to be evenly redistributed to every man, woman, and child affected by this crisis.

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