A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout.
Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times Cory Finley has written a play called “The Private Sector” that is set at a hedge fund corporate retreat. Wall Street, once a magnet for America’s best and brightest, is facing a recruiting problem. The industry’s cachet, which was tarnished during the financial disaster, has been further stained by the lingering economic slowdown and a series of highly publicized industry scandals that have drawn critical attention to the big banks. The most recent public relations storm stemmed from a resignation letter this week on The New York Times Op-Ed page, written by Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs executive director.