January 17, 2008

Pity the Poor Bankers

Who bails US out? I simply don't understand how repuglicans never give any slack to "losers" (i.e. people who work for a living) but don't mind when their corporate masters go looking for a handout. Hypocracy!
It Takes A Village To Fix Citigroup
Liz Moyer, 01.15.08, 3:55 PM ET
[...] On Tuesday Citigroup disclosed the biggest quarterly loss in its history, $9.8 billion, after writing down another $17.4 billion in subprime securities and recording $4 billion in additional reserves and current credit losses in its massive consumer-lending operations.
Among them: Sanford I. Weill, the former chief executive who merged his Travelers Group with Citicorp in 1998 to form the global colossus. His attempt to salvage the company comes as his dream of building a global financial supermarket that can sell a vast array of financial products to individuals and corporations alike is unraveling.
In addition to Weill and his family foundation, the other private placement investors include Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire who helped rescue Citicorp by investing during its last big real estate lending crisis in 1990, Capital Research Global Investors, Capital World Investors, the Kuwait Investment Authority and New Jersey's division of investment.
[...] "There is no doubt we're in the midst of a very challenging environment," said Vikram Pandit, the new chief executive promoted from within the company in December to fix the mess. "We are working as hard as we can."
Pandit is firing 4,200 workers, on top of the 17,000 job cuts that came last year, and is still looking at all the operations for chances to cut costs (i.e., make more job cuts) and get out of "non-core" businesses. [Why not just fire a few CEOs? You get the same financial fix plus the 4,200 workers can keep paying their credit cards & mortgages.]
In a sense, he is fixing the problems created by Weill, who went on a tear of mergers during the 1990s as he built first the struggling Baltimore lender, Commercial Credit, then Travelers, then Citigroup. Those deals created the global bank with offices in more than 100 countries, but it also created a sprawling, seemingly out of control giant. http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/01/15/banking-citigroup-weill-biz-wall-cx_lm_0115citi.html

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