Live Video: Bernanke and Bair testify before the FCIC

Live video of Thursday’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission testimony from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair.

[This event has ended]

BoA hearing: class-action fodder?

Ken LewisDennis Kucinich pointed out at a Congressional hearing Thursday that Merrill’s weekly losses in mid-November were greater than the losses in mid-December, and that Bank of America boss Ken Lewis got weekly updates on the investment bank’s losses. Lawmakers repeatedly said Lewis must have known much earlier than he claims about the heavy losses at Merrill, which lost $15.84 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

That’s something that class action lawyers may latch on to, as they push their case over the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch deal, which hinges on what the bank disclosed and when.

Shareholders OK’d the deal on Dec. 5. Bank of America disclosed Merrill’s losses in January, after the deal closed. If shareholders knew of the losses before, the outcome could have been different.

Post Traumatic Stress Test Order

A week ago, when the Fed and Treasury mesmerized the financial world with the results of “stress tests” and capital-raising targets for banks, nobody spent much time asking “what if they can’t raise the money?” There was a sense that authorities had washed away enough uncertainty in the sector to satisfy investors. In short order, healthier institutions started raising capital. Those that didn’t need any stepped up efforts to rid themselves of onerous state support.

Bank of America shares are on a tear after the bank raised nearly $13.5 billion through a stock sale. Along with money it raised by selling part of its stake in China Construction Bank, this put Bank of America about half way to filling its stress-test gap.

But when Regions Financial, a large U.S. Southeast regional bank that was stress-tested, announced plans this morning to raise $1.25 billion through stock offerings — also about half of what federal regulators told it to raise — investors balked, sending its stock down more than 8 percent.

Very, very frightening

If Frankenstein isn’t scary enough for you, the enterprising folks at have Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke masks ready just in time for Halloween!

That’s right — for the low, low price of $79.90 and you can get a latex mask of “Evil Hank” and “Evil Ben“. If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, though, move fast — Bernanke masks are sold out and only a handful of Paulson masks remain.

For the more thrifty consumer, Forbes has posted printable masks for its list of the scariest people of 2008. The magazine has included the Presidential candidates on this year’s list, as well as Paulson, Bernanke, Dick Fuld and Jimmy Cayne.