December 18, 2009
If you are reading this you're probably a US taxpayer. That means that in a small way you own a significant chunk of Citigroup, once the largest US bank and recipient of $45 billion of TARP funds. Another name for TARP is "your money." That bailout represents nearly 60% of Citigroup's current market value making you, dear taxpayer, a important shareholder.
Maybe it was critical for the economy for you to go to work every day to pay taxes to fork over $45 billion to save Citigroup from collapse. Let's assume for a minute that this is true (I am not convinced). Why, you might ask yourself, why is a former hedge fund manager, a guy with no consumer banking background, why is he still in charge?
Vikram Pandit has been CEO of Citigroup for two years: one year on his own, another as a ward of the US taxpayer. He is not singlehandedly responsible for the decline and near-bankruptcy of the once-great bank. But remember: you're the boss now, at least on paper. Your tax dollars control this bank, a bank now run by the same guy running it when it collapsed. What would you do?
How about this: hire somebody who knows how to run a bank, how to add and subtract, how to make a loan and collect it, how to remain solvent. Enough with people who run the largest banks like they are exclusive casinos. Fire him.
George T Conboy
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).