Financial Crisis Panel to Deliver Three Conclusions

The federal commission that investigated the origins of the financial crisis is set to issue three competing conclusions next week.

FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides
Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Chairman Phil Angelides. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s main report, to be released Jan. 27, is backed only by the panel’s six Democratic appointees. The four Republicans have written two separate dissents, according to a blog post by one of them.

The differing narratives may further limit the commission’s impact on financial-regulation policy or on who the government should hold accountable for the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. The panel, created in 2009, was touted by some lawmakers as the best way to determine what caused failures on Wall Street and in the mortgage and banking industries.

“It will make interesting reading, but I don’t know anybody in a policy position that is waiting for” the report, said Wayne Abernathy, a former Treasury Department official who is now an executive vice president at the American Bankers Association in Washington. “They broke with the effort to form a consensus pretty early, and from then on people started discounting their work.”

Congress set up the FCIC to delve into the causes of the meltdown that toppled Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and prompted U.S. bailouts for companies including American International Group Inc. The commission has taken testimony from executives including Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein.

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