Why is John Dugan still Comptroller of the Currency? (Skip to the second-to-last sentence of this item if you can't wait for the answer.)
Today Dugan had his director of regulatory policy spinning Bloomberg on how tough the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is being on off-balance sheet gizmos known as liquidity puts, which helped all but destroy Citigroup.
Last week, of course, Dugan testified to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that he didn't realize how risky these puts were when he let banks reserve as little as $1 for every $125 in exposure to them, though they essentially promise investors that the bank will make good on their losses.
Gee, you mean that's risky? Seriously, what a mystery that is, John. No wonder you and every other bank regulator couldn't have known Citi and other big banks would be way too leveraged once you kowtowed to their every demand for Easy Street capital requirements.
This isn't rocket science, John. It's Finance 101. And you've been one of the most lenient bank regulators in modern memory.
So why do you still have your job?
Sure, now you're requiring $1 for every $10 in exposure to such puts. But how long will it be before you ease things back to a buck for every $125? I give it two or three years, max, once the economy has "recovered" and everyone (or enough of everyone) has forgotten all about the big bad financial crisis, and folks like you can cozy up to Wall Street again because the GOP has scuttled every effort to rein in the banks.
The only thing Dugan has been tough on is other regulators who would be tough on the banks, like Eliot Spitzer.
Thanks for nothing, John.