Bankers say bailout is providing returns

Feb. 11, 2009 at 3:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A who's who of U.S. banking executives told a congressional committee that Americans were getting a good return on taxpayer bailout funds.

Chief executive officers from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank of New York, Bank of America, State Street Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. told House of Representatives Financial Services Committee members that they were lending to customers, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

"The bottom line is that we are lending significantly more with that preferred stock investment than we would be without it," Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis said.

The banks represent a collective taxpayer investment of $165 billion.

Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., asked for candor from the bankers.

"I urge you strongly to cooperate with us," Frank said. "There is substantial public anger."

In response, Robert Kelly of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said the financial system had "a long way to go." He also said the bailout would provide "a very good return on the investment for taxpayers."

"We're Americans first. We're bankers second," Wells Fargo & Co. CEO John Stumpf said.

"We are frugal," he added.

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