WASHINGTON — The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's first public hearing on Wednesday gave the industry's top leaders an opportunity to express remorse for their role in the collapse of the financial markets but did little to enhance the public's understanding of the meltdown.

Much of the hearing examined topics that have already been noisily debated during the crisis, including executive compensation, risk management and the threat posed by institutions that are considered "too big to fail." Though executives from Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley made no new revelations during the hearing, panel members said the real digging will take place behind closed doors.

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