Given the importance of Libor and the seriousness of the charges against Barclays and their admission of wrongdoing, the lack of outrage in the United States is unfathomable. While initially CEO Bob Diamond appeared to survive the news, outrage in London forced him to resign a week later.
But there has been little call for Congressional Hearings on this issue, despite much greater implications than the recent trading loss by JP Morgan. Not that Congress asked any tough questions of Dimon despite the bank's likely role in the missing former MF Global customer funds. You half expected members of Congress to carry Dimon—a sugar daddy of political contributions—out on their shoulders. Even those that railed on behalf of the ‘poor farmers and ranchers’ shrunk in the presence of Dimon and did not pose tough question to him.
We understand that trading and banking is a bottom line business but it is also a customer business and customers need to hold these executives to account because there isn’t much hope for political leaders doing so.
More importantly, we must bring back the idea that there are other considerations beyond the bottom line. Acting honorably should not be a game for suckers and misconduct should be acknowledged rather than simply spun. We need a sense of fair play and shame. Without it all the rules and regulations are putty in the hands of smart lawyers and compliant politicians and won’t stop the next crisis.