International financial regulators have failed to enact a coordinated plan since the 2008 credit market meltdown, former congressman Barney Frank said today.

Speaking at the same seminar, Bill Thomas, the former vice chair of the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, was more emphatic about regulators' reaction to the crisis, saying the lack of global regulatory standards threatens to drag the world into another recession.

“This [would be] just like the U.S. taking the lead in military action. This has to be changed,” said Thomas, a Republican who once served as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The former congressmen made their comments during a conference focused on the economy five years after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The fall of Lehman, the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the country, is widely viewed as the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

The biggest misconception about the meltdown is that it limited to the U.S., Thomas said. The crisis was global and not enough international financial regulation has been put into place to prevent another calamity, he said.

While saying the failure to achieve international standards has made the global financial system vulnerable, Frank said he is confident progress is being made.

Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, has said several times his biggest regret about the Dodd-Frank Act was that it did not create a single bank regulator. 

Frank said the reason was that small, state-chartered banks successfully lobbied to prevent being lumped in with big banks and put under the oversight of the Federal Reserve.

In response to criticism that not enough people in the financial industry were jailed for the crisis, which caused a loss of $16 trillion among consumers, Frank said a lot of the bad practices that led to the recession were not prosecutable.

However, he said that has changed with Dodd-Frank, which has made falsifying mortgage loan documents and other shady mortgage practices into criminal offenses.