Bloomberg reports that U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said at a day-long hearing yesterday of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations: 'I deeply regret we did not act sooner and more decisively'.. He said his agency, which regulates HSBC’s U.S. arm, is partially responsible for letting the bank give terrorists, drug cartels and criminals access to the U.S. financial system and will take 'a much more aggressive posture'.
Calling the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency a 'lapdog not a watchdog', Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the panel, accused the agency of seeing weaknesses in the bank’s money-laundering safeguards and being 'at a loss' to act. Curry, who took office in April, said the OCC will step in when a bank accumulates deficiencies, and has changed its policy to count repeated compliance failures against a bank’s safety-and-soundness rating.
Six current and former executives of London-based HSBC displayed a united front of contrition at the hearing, with compliance chief David Bagley announcing in front of the senators that he will step down from his post. Bagley said his bank 'has fallen short of our own expectations'.
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