Victims in chief

By Mark DeCambre

Wall Street’s got a new role: victim. Following two years of penance after being fingered by Washington for being among the perps responsible for the epic US financial collapse, bankers are fighting back against stepped-up regulation by playing the victim card. That was clear early this month when JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon took the unprecedented step of publicly locking horns with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. “I have a great fear that somebody will write a book that the things we did in the crisis will slow down the recovery,” Dimon jabbed at Bernanke after a speech by the Fed boss in Atlanta. Dimon was joined last Friday by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who said new rules, including more onerous bank-capital requirements, could reduce The Street’s ability to lend. And while the reaction to Dimon’s broadside was still reverberating around Wall Street, Goldman Sachs’ brass were busy attacking on a different front, through select media outlets, saying the firm is a victim of bad math. A scathing 650-page report by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Goldman charged, contained incorrect figures. Some observers aren’t surprised with the twist. “In a fragile economy with a still-recovering banking system it’d be nice to know what the impact of reforms are before they are implemented,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics. “When surgeons cut they usually know whether the risk is worth it, but we don’t know that on some of the most important issues around regulation.”

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