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Sen. Warren: Bring more banks to trial over financial misconduct

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) criticized Wall Street on Thursday for failing to prosecute banks over their misconduct leading up to the financial crisis, saying that regulators have put too much time into settlements instead of trials.

“The question I really want to ask is about how tough you really are,” Warren said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing, according to Reuters. “I’m really concerned that too-big-to-fail has become too-big-for-trial.”

Warren took aim at the SEC, which is appealing a court ruling that rejected a proposed settlement of $285 million with Citigroup. The judge who rejected the ruling also rejected a settlement between the SEC and Bank of America Corp worth $33 million in favor of a later deal worth $150 million.

Lawmakers, too, expressed concern regarding settlements between the OCC, banks and the Federal Reserve, in which banks agreed to pay more than $9 billion to end case-by-case reviews of home foreclosures.

“Despite keeping their legal rights to sue the banks, most borrowers don’t have the financial means to litigate their cases if they feel the compensation was inadequate,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said, Reuters reports.

Elected in November, Warren has a long-standing reputation as a big bank opponent, partly because she headed a panel to oversee the bank bailouts and is widely credited with having established the CFPB.

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