Richard Fuld, the former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers nominated by the Time magazine as one of the 25 people to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, said in a recent public appearance that he had nothing to do with the collapse of the fourth-largest investment bank in the U.S.
Lehman Brothers Holdings’ filing for bankruptcy protection in 2008, which was the by far the largest in the country, is believed to have played a critical role in the recent financial crisis.
But Mr. Fuld, 69, said the crisis was triggered by government and Federal Reserve’s policies and irresponsible borrowers. The former banker declined to take any responsibility whatsoever.
When one of the reporters asked him why he didn’t just retire after the 2008 collapse, he replied, “Why don’t you just bite me?” He said that he had “no choice” but to give it another shot with his own consulting company Matrix Advisors LLC.
Mr. Fuld has kept a low profile since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, so this week’s appearance at the 2015 Marcum MicroCap Conference in NYC was the first public speech he has delivered in seven years.
He said that he didn’t count the times he appeared before Congress to testify in 2008 as public appearances. Back then, the members of the panel that was investigating Lehman Brothers collapse deemed him “villain” since he showed no remorse. Mr. Fuld’s reluctance to admit that he did something wrong shocked many in Congress.
This week, Mr. Fuld said again that he had “no regrets.” He went on to put the blame on the government and its policy to help people obtain cheap loans for their homes, lax legislation, hedge fund owners and homeowners with a reckless attitude towards their own finances. He called the mix a “perfect storm” which led to the financial meltdown.
He also said he had no qualms about the collapse because he tried everything in his powers to save the financial giant. He also said that Lehman was not bankrupt seven years ago, but he declined to go into more detail about the statement.
He also argued that the bank in which he had been working for 38 years was sturdy enough to survive the credit crisis that swept the world at the end of 2008. He mentioned Lehman’s Tier 1 capital ratio of 11% from 2008, which put it above other big financial institutions.
Anthony Scaramucci, another former Lehman Brothers executive, said that people kept playing “spin the bottle for blame”, but few knew that the government arranged so that the bottle pointed toward Wall Street.
Image Source: NBC News