Bankers vow to work to reform financial system

By: By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer
By: By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing an angry public and Congress, major bank CEOs agreed Wednesday with lawmakers' demands for better government cooperation and public relations in their first testimony on the $700 billion bailout.

"Both our firm and our industry have far to go to regain the trust of taxpayers, investors and public officials," John J. Mack, head of Morgan Stanley, told the House Financial Institutions Committee.

Added JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s Jamie Dimon: "We stand ready to do our part going forward."

In general, the eight top bankers appearing before the panel were contrite and conceded they have work to do to win over a bitter public and an exasperated Congress. They had little choice but to acknowledge as much, given intense anger and anxiety as the troubled financial system continues to spiral downward in the midst of an already deep recession.

Taxpayers are furious with big banks that benefited from the federal bailout designed to get credit moving again but which also spent lavishly on company retreats and office redecorating. Lawmakers also are feeling the heat for signing off on the bailout package plan last year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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