War on CEOs

Banks: ‘We’re Lending’

Who says banks aren’t lending? Bank chieftains Jamie Dimon, Kenneth Lewis, and Vikram Pandit say they are. In testimony prepared for their appearance today before the House Financial Services Committee (and the fearsome Barney Frank), the CEOs say that, despite their money woes, “We’re lending.” The bankers plan to acknowledge public anger about their role in triggering the recession and how they spent billions in bailout money. According to Bank of America’s Lewis, taxpayers deserve to know “what return they are making on their investment, and when it will be paid back,” and the bank intends “to pay all the TARP funds back as soon as possible.” For his part, Pandit will say Citigroup has spent $36.5 billion of its $45 billion bailout on “new lending initiatives and other programs,” and JPMorgan’s Dimon will call for the creation of a new bank regulatory system. Will Barney be assuaged?