11:03 am Nov. 1, 201176
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this morning that if there is anyone to blame for the mortgage crisis that led the collapse of the financial industry, it's not the "big banks," but Congress.
Speaking at a business breakfast in midtown featuring Bloomberg and two former New York City mayors, Bloomberg was asked what he thought of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
"I hear your complaints," Bloomberg said. "Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I'm not saying I'm sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn't have gotten them without that.
"But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it's one target, it's easy to blame them and congress certainly isn't going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for."
Bloomberg went on to say it's "cathartic" and "entertaining" to blame people, but the important thing now is to fix the problem.
The breakfast was hosted at the Hilton in midtown by the Association for a Better New York, an organization of New York City businesses celebrating its 40th anniversary. The event featured former New York City mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani was in California and sent in a brief video.