Déjà vu All Over Again: The 55 Greatest Wall Street Apologies of the Past 15 Years

In 1901, after one of John Pierpont Morgan's trades had indirectly led to a market panic, a reporter asked the financier if "some statement is due the public." Morgan famously replied, "I owe the public nothing."


John Pierpont Morgan.

That sort of response wouldn't play well in today's public relations world. Over the past 15 years, Wall Street executives have apologized for a wide variety of misdeeds. Indeed, one could easily write a fairly thorough history of American financial malfeasance by just examining the various Wall Street apologies from those years.

Below you'll find some of the most memorable ones:

We're sorry!

1. Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) CEO Charles Prince apologized in Tokyo for his bank's repeated violations in Japan.

I sincerely apologize to customers and the public for the company's failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in Japan and we regret the concern and inconvenience caused. I would like to reinforce Citigroup's commitment to Japan and our long-term commitment to our customers here. Citigroup has been in Japan for more than 100 years and we will take all necessary steps to ensure business is properly conducted.

Charles Prince, October 2004

Citi CEO Charles Prince (right) apologizing in Tokyo in 2004.

The early 2000s: Enron, dot-coms, and Dr. Evil

2. In response to a New York State Attorney General investigation, Merrill Lynch CEO David Komansky apologized for his firm's activities that helped pump up the dot-com bubble.

We believe strongly in the integrity of our Research. It has served investors well for many decades. We have operated under policies and procedures designed to protect our integrity and the interests of our clients.
 
The emails that have come to light are very distressing and disappointing to us. They fall far short of our professional standards, and some are inconsistent with our policies. We regret that, and we further regret that the perception of our Research integrity has clearly been affected. 

We have failed to live up to the high standards that are our tradition, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to our clients, our shareholders and our employees. 

I want to do more than just apologize. I commit to you today that we are addressing this problem squarely. We will take meaningful and significant actions to restore investor confidence. We will redouble our enforcement of existing policies, and take strong actions against anyone who violates them. We will also adopt some new policies that will help us restore confidence in the integrity of the Research process. This is the objective as we continue discussions with the New York Attorney General's office.

David Komansky, statement to shareholders, April 2002

3. JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) CEO William Harrison offered up an apology for his firm's role in various Wall Street scandals including the dot-com bubble and Enron.

Over the past couple of years, we have seen far more than the usual number of serious accidents at the intersection of Wall Street and Main. And our financial institutions, including J.P. Morgan Chase, must take their share of responsibility for that...We cannot undo what has been done, but we can express genuine regret and learn from the past.

JPMorgan CEO William Harrison, May 2003

4. In response to criticism surrounding his firm's role in the Enron scandal, Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill offered up a somewhat guarded apology in a lengthy letter to employees titled "Recent Events."

Ours is a great company that day-in and day-out plays an important role in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. We have earned this role based on our integrity, the quality of our products and services and the quality of our people. In the last few days, our company has been severely criticized for past activities in our Corporate and Investment Bank. I feel badly and I truly regret the pain that has been caused.

From everything we know, our activities with Enron were legal, met accounting standards, and reflected industry practices - and our people, relying on the advice of independent legal and accounting experts, believed they were doing the right thing...

Sandy Weill, July 2002

5. Soon afterward, Weill made a somewhat more direct public apology.

As an organization, we place a premium on integrity and aspire to the highest standards of professionalism. As a result of recent events, we have recognized that we need to reexamine our business practices and make appropriate changes. There are certain industry practices that we should all be concerned about, and although we have found nothing illegal, looking back, we can see that certain of our activities do not reflect the way we believe business should be done. That should never be the case, and I am sorry for that.

Sandy Weill, September 2002

6. In August 2004, Citigroup executed a strategy that its traders called the "Dr. Evil" trade. Essentially, Citi sold billions of dollars of bonds in Europe, and then repurchased the bonds after panic had ensued. Company executives offered their regrets for the strategy.

[W]e regret having executed the trade because we failed to consider its potential impact on our clients and other stakeholders, including European regulators and treasuries, and because it did not meet our standards. As one example, unfortunately, the traders involved made inappropriate, unrealistic, and in certain instances juvenile remarks about the trading strategy before it was executed. We regret these comments, which do not represent the views of the supervisors who approved the trade, nor of management....

Based upon the reports we have received and our own internal review, we continue to believe that this trade did not violate any applicable rules or regulations.

Citigroup CEO for Global Capital Markets Tom Maheras and Citigroup CEO for EMEA Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking Group William Mills, February 2005

7. AIG ousted its CEO and in 2006 agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle charges related to a variety of alleged securities frauds.

Providing incorrect information to the investing public and regulators was wrong and is against the values of our current leadership and employees.

AIG, February 2006

8. At a conference in 2003, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) CEO and Chairman Hank Paulson said that most of the company's employees were expendable. Upon further reflection, he backed away from that view, and apologized to the entire firm via voice mail.

As painful as the cutbacks have been to date, I do not believe they have impaired the strength of the firm. No other organization in the world has so many talented people. I am profoundly embarrassed about my choice of words. [My comments] created an impression completely at odds with my respect for the people who have been let go...please accept my apologies and gratitude.

Hank Paulson, voice mail message to employees, February 2003

9. In 2000, Wells Fargo's (NYSE: WFC  ) online newsletter shared a SmartMoney article with the bank's customers alerting them to common tricks real estate brokers play on homebuyers.

Understandably, this caused great concern in the Realtor and real estate broker community....we apologize. We will not use this article again. We will not use articles with this tone and direction again....The Wells Fargo Online newsletter will, in its next issue (September), include a story from another third party source, focusing on the valuable role Realtors and real estate brokers play in the home buying process....Without our close working relationships with real estate professionals, builders, mortgage brokers and other referral partners, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage would not be in a leadership position today.

Wells Fargo statement to Realtors, August 2000

Stoking the financial crisis

10. Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, apologized for his company's role in the financial crisis at a conference in New York in 2009.

We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize...our reputation is very important to us.

Lloyd Blankfein, November 2009

11. Addressing the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's frustration with Goldman Sachs for not providing it with relevant documents, Goldman's Group President Gary Cohn began his prepared remarks with an apology.

I would like to begin my testimony with an apology. You have stated that we have not been sufficiently responsive to the FCIC's requests for information. We apologize for any failure on our part. We have redoubled our efforts to provide the documents and information you want, roadmaps to those documents and extensive engagement with your staff. We recognize the significance of your mission to examine the underlying causes of the financial crisis and we will work hard to help you fulfill it.

Gary Cohn, June 2010.

12. Former Citigroup CEO John Reed apologized for helping to create Citigroup.

I'm sorry. These are people I love and care about. You can imagine emotionally it's not easy to see what's happened...I would compartmentalize the industry for the same reason you compartmentalize ships. If you have a leak, the leak doesn't spread and sink the whole vessel. So generally speaking you'd have consumer banking separate from trading bonds and equity.

John Reed, November 2009

13. Citigroup's former CEO and Chairman Charles Prince apologized for the crisis.

I'm sorry the financial crisis has had such a devastating impact for our country. I'm sorry about the millions of people, average Americans, who lost their homes. And I'm sorry that our management teams, starting with me, like so many others could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us.

Charles Prince before the FCIC, April 2010

14. Robert Rubin, former Chairman and Director of Citigroup (and former Treasury Secretary), was slightly less apologetic than Prince before the FCIC.

We all bear responsibility for not recognizing this, and I deeply regret that.

Robert Rubin before the FCIC, April 2010

15. AIG's new CEO responded to a national controversy over the bailed-out insurer's decision to pay $218 million in bonuses to employees of the division that brought down the company.

It was distasteful to have to make these payments, but we concluded that the risks to the company and therefore to the economy were unacceptably high.... I have asked those who received retention payments in excess of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments.

Edward Liddy, March 2009

16. After Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, CEO Dick Fuld appeared before Congress to answer questions about the demise of the firm. Despite the negative impact of the firm's collapse, Fuld wasn't quite able to offer up an apology.

...my employees, my shareholders, my clients, have taken a huge amount of pain. And again, not that anybody on this committee cares about this, but I wake up every single night thinking, 'what could I have done differently? What could I have said? What should I have done?' And I have searched myself every single night. And I come back to this: at the time I made those decisions, I made those decisions with the information I had. I can look at you and say, this is a pain that will stay with me the rest of my life, regardless of what comes out of this committee, and regardless of what the record-book will say when it's finally written.

Dick Fuld, congressional testimony, October 2008

17. He missed another opportunity a couple of years later:

In retrospect, there is no question we made some poorly timed business decisions and investments.... But we addressed those mistakes and got ourselves back to a strong equity position.

Dick Fuld, congressional testimony, September 2010

18. In response to lawmakers' complaints that even after losing $150 million in compensation, he still walked away with $350 million:

I am not proud of the fact that I lost that much money. But it does show that the system, our compensation system, did work.

Dick Fuld, October 2008

19. Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo, the leader of the country's largest mortgage originator, didn't apologize for the financial crisis, but he did apologize that he once threatened his own company that he might resign unless it reimbursed taxes he owed for his wife's use of the corporate jet.

I apologize for that [email]. I regret the words I used. I tend to be an emotional person.

Angelo Mozilo, CEO, Countrywide, March 2008

Miscellaneous miscreants

20. Prior to sentencing for defrauding thousands of investors, Bernie Madoff addressed the court.

Apologizing and saying I am sorry, that's not enough. Nothing I can say will correct the things that I have done. I feel terrible that an industry I spent my life trying to improve is being criticized terribly now, that regulators who I helped work with over the years are being criticized by what I have done. That is a horrible guilt to live with. There is nothing I can do that will make anyone feel better for the pain and suffering I caused them, but I will live with this pain, with this torment for the rest of my life. I apologize to my victims. I will turn and face you. I am sorry. I know that doesn't help you. Your Honor, thank you for listening to me.

Bernie Madoff, June 2009

21. In response to the collapse of MF Global, which resulted in the disappearance of $1.2 billion in client funds, its former head, Jon Corzine, apologized before the House Agriculture Committee.

Recognizing the enormous impact on many peoples' lives resulting from the events surrounding the MF Global bankruptcy, I appear at today's hearing with great sadness. My sadness, of course, pales in comparison to the losses and hardships that customers, employees and investors have suffered as a result of MF Global's bankruptcy. Their plight weighs on my mind every day – every hour. And, as the chief executive officer of MF Global at the time of its bankruptcy, I apologize to all those affected.

Jon Corzine, December 2011

22. After being sentenced to two years in prison for providing inside information to a hedge fund manager, former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta asked for forgiveness.

Your Honor, I want to say here that I regret terribly the impact of this matter on my family, my friends and the institutions that are dear to me...Your Honor, as I come before you to be sentenced, the overwhelming feelings in my heart are of acceptance of what has happened, of gratitude to my family and friends, and of seeking forgiveness from them all. It is with these feelings that I hope to move forward and dedicate myself to the service of others.

Rajat Gupta, October 2012

John Pierpont Morgan's recent legacy

23. When the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked JPMorgan why it shouldn't suspend its trading privileges as punishment for manipulating energy markets, JPMorgan responded with false evidence.

[J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp.] regrets and apologizes for its failure to address the FERC communications in certain submissions.

JPMorgan, October, 2012

24. After initially dismissing the mistake as a "tempest in a teapot," JPM CEO Jamie Dimon eventually apologized for the bank's "London Whale" trading debacle that cost it $6.2 billion.

Let me be perfectly clear: These problems were our fault, and it is our job to fix them. In fact, I feel terrible that we let our regulators down. We are devoted to ensuring that our systems, practices, controls, technology and, above all, culture meet the highest standards. We want to be considered one of the best banks – across all measures – by our shareholders, our customers and our regulators.

Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase, 2012 letter to shareholders

25. JPMorgan sort of apologized for its mortgage problems, too.

We were one of the better actors in this situation – but not good enough; we made too many mistakes.... Many of our problems were inherited from Bear Stearns and WaMu [JPMorgan acquisitions].

But we did participate in this disaster by originating mortgages that wouldn't have been given a decade earlier (and won't be given a decade later). And when delinquencies and foreclosures grew dramatically, we were ill-prepared operationally to deal with the extraordinary volume of troubled mortgages and upset borrowers. Our servicing operations left a lot to be desired: There were too many paperwork errors, including affidavits that were improperly signed because the signers did not have personal knowledge about what was in the affidavits but, instead, relied on the company's processes. However, the information in the affidavits was largely accurate – i.e., the borrower, in fact, was in default, we did have the mortgage and so on.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 2012 letter to shareholders

26. Just before being sentenced to 18 months in prison for engaging in a bid-rigging scheme with UBS and JPMorgan.

I want to apologize to the court for my role in rigging bids.

Zevi Wolmark, former Chief Financial Officer, CDR Financial Products, April 2013

Manipulating global interest rates

27. Barclays CEO Bob Diamond apologized in a letter to staff after the firm was fined a record amount in the LIBOR interest rate rigging scandal.

No one is more sorry, disappointed and angry about these events than I am. I am sorry because we let down the people whose trust we rely on  - our customers and clients; our shareholders; our regulators; and the communities in which we live and work.

I am disappointed because many of these behaviours happened on my watch. It is my responsibility to make sure that it cannot happen again. More than anything, though, I am angry because the impression has been given that the behaviour revealed in the documents last week is indicative of the culture at Barclays generally.

I love Barclays, and I am proud of all of you. We all know that these events are not representative of our culture, and it is my responsibility to get to the bottom of that and resolve it. Make no mistake the actions taken in this incident were against all of the principles we live by.

Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, letter to staff, July 2, 2012

28. Later that month, after Bob Diamond had been forced out as CEO, Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius tried to move forward with another apology and something called the "Citizenship agenda."

Our Citizenship agenda is now more important than ever; we have ambitious commitments that we must deliver and continue to evolve to address the issues that matter most to those we serve...We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognise that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders. I speak for all of Barclays people when I say how determined we are to regain the full confidence of all our stakeholders; customers and clients, investors, regulators and staff alike.

Chairman's Statement, Barclays Half Yearly Report, July 27, 2012

29. The conspiracy also allegedly involved Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank. Here's UBS:

I'm deeply sorry that we didn't spot this. It's clearly a failing in our systems and controls and in our culture that it wasn't highlighted through whistle-blowing or other checks and balances in the system.

Huw Jenkins, former CEO of UBS's investment bank

A sorry record of foreclosing on customers

30. Perhaps millions of homeowners have been wrongfully foreclosed on since the financial crisis. In 2010, Bank of America apologized for ransacking the home of a woman who was on-time with her mortgage payments when the bank accidentally foreclosed on it.

We will move quickly to review the allegations ... and consider any hardship that resulted.... [Bank of America] has zero tolerance for this kind of error.

Bank of America, March 2010

31. Bank of America apologized for mistakenly foreclosing on a terminally ill man after he tried to make an early mortgage payment.

We apologize to the Bullingtons for this error, and we hope to have a response for them shortly.

Bank of America, August 2011

32. Bank of America tried to foreclose on Warren and Maureen Nyerges, a Florida couple that didn't even have a mortgage. The bank was fined, but never paid up. Eventually the couple had to have their local sheriff foreclose on a Bank of America branch in order to receive the money the bank owed them.

We apologize to Mr. Nyegres [sic] that there was a delay in receiving the funds.... The original request went to an outside attorney who is no longer in business.

Bank of America, June 2011

33. A California couple spent years trying to refinance their house, but every time they applied to refinance, Bank of America mistakenly foreclosed on them instead of refinancing.

We are better than this. It's unfortunate. We want to do better than this and we apologize.

Bank of America, December 2012

34. One of the law firms that mass-produced bogus legal documents to help banks foreclose on homeowners got into hot water when some of its employees came to a company Halloween party wearing costumes making fun of people who'd lost their homes.

I again want to sincerely apologize for the inappropriate costumes worn by some of our employees at our Halloween Party in 2010. It was in extremely poor taste and I take full responsibility.

Steven J. Baum, November 2011

35. Two weeks after Wells Fargo publicly insisted its foreclosure practices were sound, a vice president testified that the bank was actually faking legal documents. One week later, Wells curtly announced it needed to redo 55,000 foreclosures filings.

We found human errors, and we are fixing those errors.

Wells Fargo, October 2010

36. Two years later, Wells Fargo apologized for accidentally foreclosing on and ransacking a Los Angeles couple's house that didn't have a mortgage.

We are deeply sorry for the very personal losses the Tjosaas family suffered as a result of their home being mistakenly secured.... We are moving quickly to reach out to the family to resolve this unfortunate situation in an attempt to right this wrong.

Wells Fargo, September 2012

37. A few days later, Wells made a nearly identical apology when its contractors mistakenly foreclosed on the same house, vandalizing propane tanks and cars, and stealing appliances.

We are deeply sorry for the very personal losses the Tjosaas family suffered as a result of their home being mistakenly secured and entered by a contractor hired to address a different nearby property.... We moved quickly and have been in contact with the Tjosaas family to resolve this unfortunate situation and right this wrong.

Wells Fargo, September 2012

38. A year after insisting that there was "almost no chance we made a mistake" with foreclosures, JPMorgan Chase sort of apologized.

We are doing everything we can to keep people in their homes that should stay in their homes. There's some who probably shouldn't. And I know we've made mistakes on paperwork and other issues and we've added a lot of people in systems and operations to try to make sure we don't do that. To the extent we've done things that hurt people, we deeply apologize for it.

Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase, May 2011 Shareholder/Analyst Call

39. When banks eventually mailed out checks ranging from $300 to $125,000 to 4 million former homeowners to settle improper foreclosures, some of the first checks bounced.

We apologize to anyone who experienced problems trying to cash their checks....We want to assure the public that checks we have mailed under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement process are valid.

Rust Consulting, April 2013

Foreclosing our troops

40. After receiving intense criticism for charging bogus fees and wrongly foreclosing on homes owned by U.S. military personnel, JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon apologized.

This company has a great history of honoring military and veterans, and the mistakes we made on military foreclosures are a painful aberration on that track record. We deeply apologize to our military customers and their families for these mistakes. We cannot undo them, but we can take accountability for them, fix them and learn from them. Today we want to begin a new way forward with the military and veteran community to make serving them a core part of how we operate our business every day. Our servicemen and servicewomen deserve nothing less.

Jamie Dimon, company press release, February 2011

41. Here's Bank of America apologizing for illegal foreclosures on military families:

It is our responsibility to make things right... These errors are not acceptable, and we certainly regret them.

Bank of America/Countrywide, May 2011

42. And Morgan Stanley:

First and foremost, we want to apologize to those military families that were affected by any mistakes made in the foreclosure process. Our servicemen and women deserve the highest level of customer service.

Morgan Stanley, May 2011

Tax evasion

43. From 2000 to 2007, UBS marketed tax shelters to help thousands of wealthy American clients avoid hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes.

UBS genuinely regrets any compliance failures that may have occurred. We will take responsibility for them. We will not seek to minimize them. On behalf of UBS, I am apologizing. I am committing to you that we will take the actions necessary to see that this does not happen again.

Mark Branson, Chief Financial Officer of UBS Global Wealth Management, July 2008

44. In response to UBS' history of aiding tax frauds, rigging municipal bids, defrauding municipalities and non-profits, defrauding customers, and contributing to the financial crisis:

[UBS] acknowledges and takes responsibility for the mistakes and oversights that occurred in our past, and we have learned a great deal. New senior management is fully committed to protecting the firm's reputation, our employees and shareholders from any misconduct by individuals.

UBS, July 2012

45. Deutsche Bank's co-CEO raised eyebrows when he complained to a national politician that police investigating tax evasion, money laundering, and obstruction of justice had raided his office.

[I] expressly apologize [if people thought I was trying to exert political influence].... I wanted to express my deep dismay about the impression that the incident [the raid] made abroad.

Juergen Fitschen, December 2012

Slavery and Nazis

46. In order to comply with Chicago law, JPMorgan apologized for its links to slavery during the period from 1831 to 1865.

We all know slavery existed in our country, but it is quite different to see how our history and the institution of slavery were intertwined. Slavery was tragically ingrained in American society, but that is no excuse. We apologize to the African-American community, particularly those who are descendants of slaves, and to the rest of the American public for the role that Citizens Bank and Canal Bank played [these banks were linked to Bank One, which was acquired by JPMorgan].

JPMorgan CEO William Harrison and COO James Dimon, January 2005

47. Wachovia apologized, too.

On behalf of Wachovia Corporation, I apologize to all Americans, and especially to African-Americans and people of African descent.... We are deeply saddened by these findings.

Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson, June 2005

48. Here's Lehman Brothers:

This is a sad part of our heritage...We're deeply apologetic...It was a terrible thing...There's no one sitting in the United States in the year 2005, hopefully, who would ever, in a million years, defend the practice.

General Counsel for Lehman Brothers Joe Polizzotto, September 2005

49. In response to a 2004 book detailing how JPMorgan helped the Nazis raise $20 million from 1936 to 1941:

We long ago addressed the historic involvement [of the bank]. The firm issued a public acknowledgment and apology on this troubling matter more than four years ago.

JPMorgan, May 2004

Money Laundering

50. Wachovia had to pay a $160 million settlement and admit it may have laundered as much as $378 billion for Mexican drug cartels in a deferred prosecution agreement:

As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk that was associated with doing business with the Mexican CDCs.... As early as July 2005, Wachovia was aware that other large U.S. banks were exiting the CDC business based on AML [anti-money-laundering] concerns. Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business.... There were essentially seven significant failures in Wachovia's AML and Compliance programs.... Nor was there any critical analysis of actual account activity... Wachovia had no written formal AML policy or procedure for the monitoring of bulk cash to ensure that suspicious activity was reported.... Wachovia never reviewed any of the [remote deposit capture] deposits [for two years.]

Wachovia, deferred prosecution agreement, March 2010

51. HSBC executives apologized to Senators for spending a decade ignoring internal warnings that the bank was helping terrorists, Mexican drug cartels, and Iran launder money.

Despite the best intentions and efforts of so many dedicated compliance and business professionals, HSBC has in some important areas failed to meet our expectations and the expectations of our regulators.... In hindsight... I think we all sometimes allowed a focus on what was lawful and compliant to obscure what should be best practices for a global bank.

HSBC Head of Group Compliance David Bagley, July 2012

52. After the bank was fined $1.9 billion, its CEO produced a slightly more full-throated apology:

We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again. The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes.

Stuart Gulliver, December 2012

53. As part of a 2012 settlement, Standard Chartered admitted to knowingly and willfully violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, Libya, and Burma. But a few months later the bank violated the settlement by walking back its admission of guilt during this apology to shareholders:

The $667 million settlements dented our profit growth and damaged our reputation....There is no single tool to reinforce culture, no magic recipe, and no organization of nearly 90,000 people can ensure that everyone does everything perfectly all the time....We had no willful act to avoid sanctions; you know, mistakes are made — clerical errors.

Standard Chartered Chairman John Peace, March 2013

54. Two weeks later, the Justice Department had the bank reapologize and correct its false statements.

During that press conference, which took place via phone, I made certain statements that I very much regret and that were at best inaccurate.... To be clear, Standard Chartered Bank unequivocally acknowledges and accepts responsibility, on behalf of the Bank and its employees, for past knowing and willful criminal conduct in violating US economic sanctions laws and regulations.

John Peace, March 2013

Making money sometimes means having to say you're sorry

55. TD Bank denied wrongdoing but apologized to shareholders that it had to pay $130 million to settle charges it aided Enron's fraud.

This has had an economic cost to the bank, and for that I am truly sorry.

TD Bank CEO Ed Clark, August 2005

Mark Twain famously said "history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." That's true enough, though it sure seems to repeat itself, too.

Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments section.

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Read/Post Comments (20) | Recommend This Article (39)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 6:08 PM, bugahamike wrote:

    Somehow the White House failed to make the list.........

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 6:33 PM, neelvk wrote:

    @bugahamike I didn't know that the White House was on Wall Street... Even Google Maps has the White House on a street called Pennsylvania Ave.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2013, at 7:32 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    “I just want to say I’m very, very sorry for the financial and emotional damage I have caused to investors and employees of Peregrine Financial Group,” Wasendorf said.

    http://www.suntimes.com/business/17924301-420/wasendorf-gets...

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 3:08 AM, JadedFoolalex wrote:

    Because money corrupts minds and morals...

    There are too many to list!! Principal Financial, Long Term Asset management, Russia, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Ed Jones (No affiliation with Edward Jones Investments), Jerome Kerviel, and the list goes on and on and on!!!!

    Guess the moral of the story is "be very, very careful who you trust you money to!"

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 8:13 AM, Jamesband wrote:

    Trillions of dollars stolen and extorted by WS corruption and Government tomfoolery with Macro and Micro economics and still they eat cake. But grow a few medicinal plants, create your own elixir and you face some serious jail time. Who can pick out the criminals here?

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 8:58 AM, TMFBane wrote:

    @TheDumbMoney,

    That was a good one. Thanks for sharing it. I was sad to see the very next line of that quote, "I've lost the love of my son, and I'll never see my grandchildren again," Wasendorf said.

    Something for everyone on Wall Street to consider.

    Thanks for all the comments,

    John Reeves

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 2:08 PM, szcz wrote:

    It is unfortunate that not one government official - elected or otherwise - has ever apologized for the pain it has inflicted on the working people of this country during the last 50 years.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 3:39 PM, Tiingall wrote:

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (attributed to British philosopher Edmund Burke)

    It seems that through all these criminal and corrupt activities, too many people turned a blind eye. Even now, with the bank and financial institutions exposed for (some of) their deliberate and contrived unethical and illegal activities, people who are in a position to see, change or report on these activities are not doing so.

    By taking a short-term decision to protect their immediate personal interests (their salary and bonuses), in the long-run they damage the company, the customers, the shareholders, the industry the country; and perhaps themselves too.

    Many years ago I described the socio-economic operation of the country as "institutionalised anarchy". Because people do nothing about a problem until it becomes an overwhelming issue that drags down everyone. The national gyrates from one extreme to the other when eventually an issue becomes dominant and no-one can any longer hear the cries of another problem that could be fixed before it becomes yet another debilitating issue.

    But people are so into themselves and their personal benefit that no-one is willing to stand up against something wrong and others are not willing/able to hear because the dominant issue of the time overwhelms and smothers. There are no gentle checks and balances. Instead there are wild gyrations that destroy, demoralise and rob people of what could be possible.

    All because good men and women who saw the problem in it's early stages did nothing to prevent it and therefore it evolves into a debilitating crisis. Their inaction ensuring the perpetuation of Burke's observation that the "only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing."

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 6:24 PM, Clint35 wrote:

    Makes me really glad I don't own shares of any banks. Oh wait, I was already glad.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 8:08 PM, WileyCyote wrote:

    The words of Thomas Jefferson still ring loud and clear.

    "Bankers are more of a threat than standing armies"

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 9:47 AM, mikecart1 wrote:

    That it's too late to apologize.

    It's too late...

    I said it's too late to apologize.

    It's too late, too late, oh, oh.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 9:52 AM, TMFBane wrote:

    @WileyCyote,

    Great quote from Jefferson! In his wisdom, Jefferson must have anticipated Citigroup when he said that. Citi is like the Forest Gump of bad banks -- it's been associated in some capacity with every big financial debacle of the past century.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 9:22 PM, TMFBane wrote:

    ^ "Forrest" Gump that is.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2013, at 4:29 PM, character1 wrote:

    I think we did have a hero during the financial crisis, and we continue to have her now-her name is Elizabeth Warren. She wasn't afraid to speak out.

    I've been asking for an apology from two firms, Hartford Insurance and Biltmore Farms. If you follow the link here you will read my story. It's the stories that you won't find on spreadsheets that speak to the character of the companies.

    Biltmore Farms LLC, Jack Cecil CEO and Hartford Insurance, Liam McGee, CEO stop taking advantage of people injured on Biltmore Property. - http://www.change.org/petitions/biltmore-farms-llc...

    This is important to everyone, including me, because in the State of North Carolina if an insurance company can find you 1% in your own injury, per...

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2013, at 4:32 PM, character1 wrote:

    For above please follow this link, as above link now working-thank-you.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/biltmore-farms-llc-jack-ceci...?

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2013, at 7:06 PM, sciencedave wrote:

    Since the apologies are contrived they are not in my opinion sincere...therefore worthless. The apologies were just business decisions only....they mean nothing to Main Street. Actions alone dictate reputations....not words. Unfortunately regulation is the only solution if the gov believes they are all too big to "jail"... Or fail.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2013, at 8:43 PM, cadepend wrote:

    Just read the Rolling Stone article about the sins and remissions of the ratings companies. Will Standard and Poors and Morgan Stanley apologize for rating junk as AAA?

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2013, at 10:09 PM, carolsmithhsa wrote:

    So here is my observation after this avalanche list of bad behaviors and despicable actions. Why would anyone in the individual investor community invest in any organization like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, AIG, etc ? The best demonstration of contempt and disrespect for years of meaningless apologies is to INVEST ELSEWHERE. The value of these companies cannot be measured and the 'oops we apologize' is no longer acceptable. Buy stock in companies where the individual consumer can measure the company thru delivery of a tangible product that consumers can readily understand and accept or reject.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2013, at 12:33 AM, nchek wrote:

    An apology must be adequate to the perceived harm done. In these cases, the apologies were simply insufficient.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2013, at 7:34 AM, JGDTexas wrote:

    If you threw in apologies that the Federal Reserve SHOULD have made since it's inception, this list would double or triple. And then there are our elected officials, for which there may not be enough e-storage on the planet to hold the needed apologies by them for putting in place the conditions for disasters and then of course, failing to any meaningful oversight.

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