Research AreasFinance, Jobs & MacroeconomicsSAFER Financial ReformCommission Activities

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's Activities

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Fourth Public Hearings: The Shadow Banking System

Third Public Hearings: Subprime Lending and Securitization and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)

Comments: April 9, 2010
Tom Schlesinger

On April 5, 1960 William McChesney Martin appeared before a Senate subcommittee to testify about the first proposal for a federal truth in lending law.  Introducing his presentation (pdf) the Fed chairman praised the measure’s goal as “a commendable social and economic objective.”  And he concluded by saying “caveat emptor can scarcely operate in the absence of knowledge by the potential buyer and debtor.”  But in between, Martin devoted the core of his testimony to declaring that the administration of such a law “would not constitute an appropriate activity” for the central bank.  Even worse, Martin warned, consumer protection would be “alien to our existing activities.” 
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April 12, 2010
At the FCIC Hearings: The Greenspan Blame Game
Jennifer Taub

Were one to design a board game concerning the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), a central source of inspiration might be Alan Greenspan’s April 7th testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC - video - testimony). Modeled on the popular board game, “Clue,” this new game “Get a Clue,” would attempt to locate who nearly killed our economy? where they did it? and with what weapons?
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Second Public Hearings: Causes of the Financial Crisis

On February 26-27, 2010, the Commission sponsored a public forum at American University featuring presentations by nine economists.

Comment: March 1, 2010

The FCIC got down to business with two days of testimony from academic economists on the causes of the financial crisis. (The Wall Street Journal provides a concise run-down of what was said on its Real Time Economics blog). Much of the discussion focused attention on the proximate causes of the financial crisis: problems arising from or inherent to the securitization of sub-prime mortgages and the financial structures that helped the crisis cascade through the system. There was less consideration of what enabled the build-up of an $8 trillion real estate bubble or how the financial regulatory and supervisory environment allowed financial institutions to become so fragile.

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First Public Hearings

The Commission’s first public hearings took place on January 13-14, 2010. In these sessions FCIC heard testimony from financial industry executives, analysts, economists, regulators, law enforcement officials and one representative of a consumer organization.

First Commission Meeting

The Commission held its first public meeting on September 17, 2009. At that session, Chairman Angelides and other members presented prepared statements about the FCIC’s objectives. In addition, the panel announced its intention to send document retention letters to financial firms and government agencies by the end of October.