FCIC Day 2

A special independent panel meets for a second day of hearings on Capitol Hill today, getting testimony from key federal regulators whose job it was to oversee the financial industry at the time of the 2008 Wall Street collapse.

"If you knew then what you knew now, what would you have done differently?" was a key question asked by former Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), the vice chair of the panel.

The answer really wasn't clear from the chieftains of four major Wall Street banking firms, though the bankers offered up apologies for risky investments that paved the way for the financial meltdown.

"In mortgage underwriting, we somehow missed that home prices don't go up forever," said James Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase.

The bankers made clear they had underestimated how interconnected the financial industry has become, that a problem in mortgages could so quickly spread to other areas of the investment community.

"We understand the anger felt by many citizens," said Bank of America's Brian Moynihan.

Every time there was a break in their testimony, the four bank chiefs were mobbed by reporters, asking whether their plans to again award big bonuses to executives was backfiring.

"I think that companies that do badly shouldn't be paying their executives a lot of money," said Dimon, defending Bank of America plans to pay out bonuses, as the bankers said they had paid back all of the bailout money provided to them by the federal government.

As for today's hearing, and the work of the regulators, Dimon and his colleagues did not try to shift any of the blame to their federal overseers.

"I don't blame the regulators at all, ever, not even once for what happened," said Dimon.  "The people who should be blamed are the managers in the companies that failed."

We'll see what the regulators have to say from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission.