Banks need to take responsibility for financial crisis, former regulator says

Six years after the start of the financial crisis, banks are still reluctant to take responsibility over their role in spurring the historic economic downturn, Sheila Bair, a former top regulator chided a roomful of financiers on Monday.

Bair, who served as chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. between 2006 and 2011, said she continues to hear the same arguments from banks and their lobbyists about who caused the crisis. They blame the government’s push for home ownership, when consumers couldn’t afford to take on home loans and non-bank lenders for selling questionable mortgages with ballooning interest rates. But they don’t acknowledge that they also made bad loans and funded some of those loans, Bair said.

“Did the industry ever do anything to cause the crisis?” Bair said. “Take some responsibility for this.”

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Bair was among the speakers at a Boston University sponsored event to celebrate the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s 150th anniversary and discuss the future of banking.