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Crooked Bankers

Another banking scandal.  HSBC apparently laundering billions for Mexican drug cartels. How do we rein in crooked bankers?

From left, David Bagley, Head of Group Compliance of HSBC Holdings plc, Paul Thurston, chief executive of Retail Banking and Wealth Management HSBC Holdings plc, Michael Gallagher, former executive Vice President and head of PCM North America HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and Christopher Lok, former head of Global Banknotes for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., are sworn in prior to testifying before the permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, "U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History," Tuesday, July 17, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

From left, David Bagley, Head of Group Compliance of HSBC Holdings plc, Paul Thurston, chief executive of Retail Banking and Wealth Management HSBC Holdings plc, Michael Gallagher, former executive Vice President and head of PCM North America HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and Christopher Lok, former head of Global Banknotes for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., are sworn in prior to testifying before the permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” Tuesday, July 17, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Somali pirates and piracy, pretty quiet this year we’re told.  Wish we could say the same about the world of big banks.  From the gory headlines week after week, the world of big banking can look like a pirates’ jamboree.  LIBOR rate rigging.  Mexican money laundering.  London whaling.

Ponzi schemes and crooked deals and straight up theft and fraud.  It’s too much.  It’s appalling.  Giant HSBC in the hot seat now for moving billions in drug lord money.  Some days it feels like there are Somali pirates in the world’s banking wheelhouse.

This hour, On Point:  banking gone bad, and what to do about it.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Evan Pérez, covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal.

Carl Levin, senior United States Senator from Michigan.

Jesse Eisinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior reporter at ProPublica, who covers Wall Street and finance.

John Bogle, the founder and retired CEO of The Vanguard Group. He’s the author of a new book “The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation on Tuesday aired findings of a yearlong investigation that alleged HSBC’s U.S. bank became a conduit for money-launderers and potential terrorist financiers. A report released ahead of the hearing also found “systemic failures” at its main U.S. government regulator, the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.”

Salon “And you thought bankers fixing interest rates and playing games with mortgage-backed securities was bad? How about money-laundering cash for Mexican drug dealers, Russian Mafia and Mideast terrorists?”

Forbes “Business corruption follows a well-worn path. The boss tells you to bend the rules, and knowing that ignoring that request will cost you your job, you do what you’re told. At the end of the year you get a big bonus and promotion.”

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