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Financial Roundup: Greenspan Admits Error, Feds Invest in Regionals, Cox Defends Self, WaMu In Auction and More

Greenspan admits "mistakes" -- Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan admitted yesterday that his hands-off regulatory philosophy had been a mistake. Speaking before a congressional comittee for four hours, Greenspan said he had been wrong in thinking that banks would be able to assess risk competently and discipline themselves. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

Big regionals take U.S. money -- The U.S. Treasury Department has arm-twisted a group of large regional banks to accept government investments as it has big banks such as Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase. The list of regionals is expected to be announced today; one is Zions Bankcorporation. [Source: Washington Post]

PNC buys National City for $5.2B -- Pittsburgh-based PNC ponied up $5.2 billion to acquire troubled National City of Cleveland, backstopped by about $7.7 billion in Treasury funding. PNC is paying $2.23 a share, which is less than National's closing price on Thursday. We recently predicted that National City was ripe for a takeover; the bank lost $729 million in the third quarter and has announced 4,000 layoffs. [Source: WSJ]

SEC's Cox grilled, backs merger -- SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, beat back criticism of his regulatory efforts before a congressional committee yesterday. He said he supports merging the SEC with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to enhance securities enforcement. [Source: CFO.com]

WaMu gets 43 cents in auction -- Bankrupt Washington Mutual saw its credit default swaps fetch the equivalent of 43 cents on the dollar at an auction yesterday. Analyst Tim Backshall of Credit Derivatives Research says the level is better than expected. Final payments for some of Lehman Brothers CDSs were a mere 8 cents on the dollar. [Source: New York Times; cnbc.com]

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