Mea Culpa

Citigroup Execs: We’re Sorry

Should make for some good public theater: Chuck Prince and Robert Rubin, two former Citigroup execs, are testifying before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on Tuesday. “I can only say that I am deeply sorry that our management – starting with me – was not more prescient and that we did not foresee what lay before us,” said Prince, who resigned as CEO of Citigroup in 2007. He said that he thought the mortgage-backed securities that cost Citigroup billions of dollars posed “virtually no risk” and said much of the blame lay with the credit-rating agencies that gave such securities high grades. Meanwhile, Rubin, who served as U.S. Treasury Secretary in the nineties and was Citigroup’s interim chairman until January 2009, said that the high ratings made him think the securities were “money good.” “Almost all of us involved in the financial system, including financial firms, regulators, ratings agencies, analysts and commentators, missed the powerful combination of forces at work and the serious possibility of massive crisis,” Rubin said. “We all bear responsibility for not recognizing this, and I deeply regret that.”