Slideshow Bankers' Mea Culpas

  • February 14 2013, 9:38am EST
10 Images Total

Royal Bank of Scotland's former investment bank head John Hourican recently told the U.K. Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards he was "very sorry [the Libor scandal] happened on our watch." Hourican, who resigned as part of the bank's $612 million settlement with U.K. and U.S. regulators, is the latest in a long line of executives to express regret over bank misdeeds. (Note: Some more closely resemble actual apologies than others.) (Image: Bloomberg News)

A Very Public Resignation

Actions spoke louder than words when HSBC head of compliance David Bagley told a Senate subcommittee he planned to step down amid money-laundering allegations. "Despite the best efforts and intentions of many dedicated professionals, HSBC has fallen short of our own expectations and the expectations of our regulators," Bagley said. (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Dimon and the Whale

Jamie Dimon has issued more than one mini-mea culpa since the now- infamous London Whale generated a $6 billion trading loss for JPMorgan Chase last year. The apology tour began during Dimon's testimony in front of the Senate Banking Panel last June where he admitted he "was dead wrong" to have called the losses "a complete tempest in a teapot" during an April earnings call. It culminated in Davos where, following the news JPM's board had decided to cut his 2012 bonus by 53.5%, Dimon said: "If you're a shareholder might I apologize deeply. But we did have record results and life goes on." (Image: Bloomberg News)

Moynihan Acknowledges (Inherited) Misdeeds

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan issued a similar non-apology apology when he told investors in November 2010 "at the end of the day, we'll pay for the things Countrywide did." (Image: Bloomberg News)

Weill's Coming-to-Glass-Steagall Moment:

We'd be remiss for failing to note in this list former Citigroup CEO (and megabank pioneer) Sandy Weill's call for a return to Glass-Steagall. "I am suggesting that [large, diversified financial companies] be broken up so that the taxpayer will never be at risk, the depositors won't be at risk," Weill said on CNBC's Squawk Box last July, adding the obligatory "mistakes were made." Per that morning's Scan headline: "That's Like Victor Frankenstein Saying, 'A Monster Was Created,' Sandy." (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Sorry I'm Not Clairvoyant

After repudiating Weill's call to reinstate Glass-Steagall on CNBC this February, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and onetime Citi-banker Robert Rubin issued this half-hearted apology regarding the financial crisis: "I regret not having seen it, and I would suspect or would guess that there are very large numbers, vast numbers of other people who have the same view, that is to say, who also regret not having seen it." (Image: Bloomberg News)

Dane Apologizes for Financial Crisis

Danske Bank CEO Eivind Kolding apologized for the financial crisis a few months before Rubin (sort of) did when he wrote in a December op-ed in a Danish newspaper: "In our ambition to meet the market's and investors' expectations about growth and to create short-term profit from ourselves and our customers, we lost a certain amount of focus on our long-term values. We admit that and apologize for it." (Image: Bloomberg News)

Bob Diamond Resigns over Libor

After publicly stating that "a period of remorse and apology for banks" should be "over," Bob Diamond did an about-face of his own and stepped down as Barclays' CEO amid charges the bank had made efforts to rig the London Interbank offered rate. "No one is more sorry, disappointed and angry about these events than I am," he wrote to employees in a letter last summer. Of course, in public, Diamond remained a bit less contrite. Shortly after news of the written mea culpa broke, he told U.K. lawmakers that his subordinates (i.e., not him) had taken regulators' statements to mean they should submit lower quotes to the Libor survey. (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Plea for Mercy

Jerry Williams, former CEO of the failed Orion Bank in Florida, issued a full apology at his sentence hearing, following a 2011 plea deal for misleading regulators about the bank's financial condition. "Your honor, I take full responsibility for my actions and the mistakes I've made," Williams said. "I'm deeply saddened. I deeply regret my conduct and I appreciate any consideration that I receive from you today." He was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison.

Citigroup Bows in Apology

Back in 2004, then-Citigroup executives Charles O. Prince and Douglas Peterson bowed before Japanese media to apologize after regulators discovered its private banking business unit failed to monitor against money laundering and had misled customers about investment risk. (Image: Bloomberg News)