Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators
In the whodunit of the financial crisis, Wall Street executives have pointed the blame at all kinds of parties — consumers who lied on their mortgage applications, investors who demanded access to risky mortgage bonds, and policy makers who kept interest rates low and failed to predict a housing market collapse.
But a new defense has been mounted by a bank executive: my regulator told me to do it.
This unusual rationale is presented by the bank executive in one of the few fraud suits brought against a mortgage banking official in the aftermath of the financial crisis — the one filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Michael W. Perry, former chief executive of IndyMac Bancorp, which failed spectacularly in mid-2008.
After being accused of fraud and misleading investors about his company’s financial health just before it collapsed, Mr. Perry set up a Web site this fall to defend himself.
In a document on the site, he said that a top official at the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, IndyMac’s overseer, directed and approved an action related to the S.E.C.’s allegations.
“It was O.T.S. who had the final say regarding IndyMac Bank’s capital levels,” Mr. Perry wrote.
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