If the banks had no risk in sponsoring the SIVs, why are they trying to keep them off their balance sheets today? Who says the banks aren't "shams like Enron"? It appears they used the same type of financing vehicles. The SIV crisis shows what "structured finance" is, i.e., creating vehicles which substance and form differ. Where was the SEC and the Big Four when all this was going on? See my post of 7 October, International Tort Crisis?
A WSJ editorial asks, "So we're left wondering whether Citibank isn't trying , in effect, to pull off the same trick twice? The conduit would issue debt and use the proceeds to buy otherwise illiquid commercial paper. But why would anyone buy the conduit's debt?" Why? To bail out Citigroup.