Bank Execs to Congress: We Are Lending

CEOs defend compensation, call for new regulation
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 9:35 AM CST
People pass a Citbank branch in New York's Financial District Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – “We’re lending,” bank executives told Congress this morning, as CEOs including Jamie Dimon, Ken Lewis, and Vikram Pandit testified before the House Financial Services Committee. They also defended the outrage-inducing (but, they stressed, much reduced) bonuses they handed out, according to their prepared testimony. “Our employees worked harder than ever,” said JPMorgan’s Dimon, who gave up his own bonuses. “The compensation we paid them was appropriate.”

Lewis concurred, saying the compensation was intended “to grow our business … and generate returns for investors.” Dimon pointed to the $150 million in new loans JPMorgan doled out in the fourth quarter, while Vikram Pandit boasted of the $36.5 billion in new lending initiatives Citi authorized in December.” Pandit also insisted he’s already “removed the people responsible for Citi’s financial distress.”