Another villain in the financial crisis were toxic mortgage-backed securities - risky loans that were chopped up and resold in countless different ways. Many banks gobbled up the now virtually worthless investments. Ed Clark got out 4 years ago saying they were just too complex.
Clark: "As soon as you see that complexity, you say, 'How can I possibly think I actually can guess whether this will work or not?' And as soon as I hear that, I say, 'Get out of it.'"
Sherry Cooper spent years at the Fed overseeing Wall Street, before moving to Bay Street, the Canadian equivalent.
"It didn't take long for me to discover that this is an entirely different culture," said Cooper, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal. "Canadian banks were up to their ankles in the toxic muck whereas American banks were over there heads."
"A lot of this is about saying, 'Here are old banking rules, and we're prepared to give up short term profit in order to make sure we have a balance sheet that doesn't blow up on us,'" Clark said.
One reason why Canada is the only industrialized nation in the world without a single bank failure in the current economic downturn.
Maybe the US should hire some Canadian experts....