Wall Street executives said Wednesday they underestimated the severity of the 2008 financial crisis and apologized for risky behavior and poor decisions. They also defended their bonus and compensation practices to a skeptical commission investigating what caused the collapse.
Americans are furious and "have a right to be" about the hefty bonuses banks paid out after getting billions of dollars in federal help, the commission's chairman told chief executives of four major banks, all survivors of the deepest and longest recession since the Depression.
As the hearings opened before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, chairman Phil Angelides pledged "a full and fair inquiry into what brought our financial system to its knees."
The panel began its yearlong inquiry amid rising public fury over bailouts and bankers' pay.
'We Understand The Anger'
"We understand the anger felt by many citizens," said Brian Moynihan, chief executive and president of Bank of America. "We are grateful for the taxpayer assistance we have received."