The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether any of the 19 largest U.S. banks are using an accounting trick that a bankruptcy examiner has said led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said Tuesday.See Timothy Geithner's remarks at the congressional hearing here. Watch live video of the hearing here. The SEC, under Schapiro, is intent on being more responsible:
Schapiro testified at a congressional hearing that the SEC is scrutinizing Lehman's use of the accounting move, known as Repo 105, that allowed it to mask its weakness before it failed. She said the agency has sent letters to the 19 banks, seeking information about any such transactions. More at the AP
Schapiro, who was not at the SEC in the fall of 2008, said the agency didn't do enough to oversee the five largest investment banks, even though it had authority over them since 2004. That oversight program, she said, did not have enough resources.
Going forward, "the SEC is determined to become a more effective regulator," she told lawmakers. "We are determined to use the lessons of that experience to be more effective."
Her comments come days after the SEC filed civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, alleging it withheld information in a complex transaction involving risky mortgage securities.