If you believed the parade of bank CEOs who attended the government-controlled House Economics committee hearings in October, they were very sorry for any mistakes in the past and they were working hard to change their cultures to ensure similar "mistakes" -- like defrauding customers, giving them bad advice, interest rate rigging and systematically refusing to pay insurance claims -- wouldn't happen again.

The committee's report came out last Thursday and reflected an acceptance of the banks' collective stance, with some recommendations that would barely quality as wrist-slapping, including the establishment slightly confusing banking tribunal, which will double up on the existing financial ombudsman.