The top US bank regulator says it's going to take 'a much more aggressive posture' after it was chastised for failing to monitor HSBC Bank properly. It comes after a US Senate Investigations panel issued a damning 400-page report revealing that for years millions of dollars - from underworld drugs and terrorism deals made in Iran, Mexico and Syria to name a few - was being laundered through the HSBC, Europe's largest bank.
And the fall guy in this latest banking scandal has apologised. David Bagley was the bank's Head of Compliance, until he put his next on the block last night. But before he did – he had to face the music:
"I recognize there have been some significant areas of failure. I have said before, and I will say again, despite the best efforts and intentions of many dedicated professionals, HSBC has fallen short of our own expectations and the expectations of our regulators. This is something that a bank seeking to conduct business in the United States and globally must acknowledge and learn from and most importantly take steps to avoid in future."
Head of the US Senate Investigations panel Carl Levin wants more than just a sorry: "The recent commitments are welcome. Apologies and commitments to improve are also welcome. But accountability for past conduct is essential and that's what's missing here."
Another HSBC executive then explained how the bank had already strengthened its Anti-Money Laundering operation by hiring 892 full-time compliance staff. But whether that's enough to appease the US Senate panel on whether HSBC has really fixed the problem deep down remains to be seen. For now though, execs will be waiting to hear how many millions of dollars in fines the bank will have to pay.