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Lawsky Calls for Aggressive Penalties Against Individuals, Banks

Lawsky Calls for Aggressive Penalties Against Individuals, Banks

Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s top banking cop, called on regulators Wednesday to hold individuals responsible for the scandals that have continued to sweep the financial industry after the crisis.

The head of New York’s Department of Financial Services also warned that his agency is considering taking more aggressive actions against companies that violate regulations, and may ban some banks from certain businesses.

“I don’t think we have done nearly enough as regulators — DFS included — to hold individuals on Wall Street accountable for misconduct,” Lawsky said, according to prepared remarks, adding that “lax enforcement by regulators has contributed to the vicious cycle of scandal after scandal after scandal that we’re continuing to see in the financial sector.”

No senior bank executives have gone to jail for the financial crisis — or for many of the big scandals since, a fact for which regulators and government officials have been widely criticized. Instead, banks have paid billions of dollars in fines to settle government claims, often without admitting wrongdoing and almost always without significant consequences for their top executives.

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