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What Sheila Bair Really Thinks About Wall Street CEOs

It took an angry call from Bair to Warren Buffett to get Blankfein to start playing team ball with the FDIC.  Lloyd called her back within the hour.


UPDATE: A look at Sheila's thoughts on Vikram Pandit, who was fired earlier today.

Wall Street Journal

Former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair’s new book, Bull by the Horns on her time during the financial crisis is out, and it’s juicy.  Here’s a quick look at what she had to say about some of the country’s top bankers.

On Vikram Pandit

It's pretty well known that Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and Bair are not best friends. Bair’s book gives a deeper dive into her less than fuzzy feelings for him.

“The selection of Pandit simply reaffirmed that Citi was no longer a bread-and-butter commercial bank. It had been hijacked by an investment banking culture that made profits through high-stakes betting on the direction of the markets” as opposed to making prudent loans, she writes. She thought Citi needed a more traditional banker to fix the mess it had gotten itself into, but Pandit “wouldn’t have known how to underwrite a loan if his life depended on it.”

She writes that Citi’s board could have “done so much better than Pandit.”

She also hammers Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner repeatedly for his attempts, in Bair’s view, to shovel government money at Citi rather than subject them to harsher medicine. “Tim seemed to view his job as protecting Citigroup from me, when he should have been worried about protecting the taxpayers from Citi. … The public justifiably wanted retribution. Citi should have been led to the pillory,” she writes.

On Lloyd Blankfein

After initially being peeved at Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for not bidding on failing banks, Bair describes him as helping the FDIC secure investments from other big banks – as well as ponying up his own – for faltering ShoreBank Corp. of Chicago, a 1970s-era pioneer in lending to low- and middle-income neighborhoods.

Blankfein’s help was apparently sparked by a call Bair made “in a snit” to Warren Buffett, who had earlier invested in Goldman. “I was probably out of line, but I told him I was frustrated with Goldman’s complete lack of interest in helping us capitalize failing institutions” despite the fact Goldman benefited from being able to become a bank holding company during the crisis.

Blankfein was calling with an offer to help within the hour.

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Reader Comments (12)

This is great stuff. I love hearing the day-to-day trash talk by insiders in non-public settings. I'll probably buy Bair's book if a cursory look at it in the bookstore promises more of the same.

But no one--not Bair, not Barofsky, no one, not humanly possible--will ever top Jimmy Cayne's rant about Tim Geithner. I'm going to post it here as a reminder of the high fecal standard indelibly set by Mr. Cayne:

"The audacity of that prick in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan," he said. "Like he was the determining factor, and it's like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a handjob, saying, "Raise the bridge." This guy thinks he's got a big dick. He’s got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend. I'm not a good enemy. I'm a very bad enemy. But certain things really—that bothered me plenty. It's just that for some clerk to make a decision based on what, your own personal feeling about whether or not they're a good credit? Who the fuck asked you? You're not an elected officer. You're a clerk. Believe me, you're a clerk. I want to open up on this fucker, that's all I can tell you."

Speaking of insider trash talk, apparently Paul Ryan refers to Mitt Romney as "Stench." While that of course pales in comparison to Cayne-speak, it's hard to get any more "inside" than the Veep candidate's pet name for his boss.


Could it get any more humiliating for the most pathetic excuse ever for a presidential candidate? We can only hope.
Sep 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
As for Paul Ryan, the original article was apparently satire, that no one picked up on, including Krugman and many others.


And as for Jimmy Cayne and Geithner, here ya go:


And read this for a story from Bess Levin about Cayne keeping chronic in his CEO desk drawer for special occasions, as in smoking every day while running Bear Stearns.

Sep 27, 2012 at 2:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterDailyBail


This is a great read.
Oct 12, 2012 at 6:30 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Sheila is gonna party like a rock star tonight...bye, bye Vikram...
Oct 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosie
Good profile and takedown of Pandit

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Jim Cramer & Erin Burnett Repeatedly Stab A Vikram Pandit Voodoo Doll Because The Henry Paulson Model Was Already Sold Out

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:20 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Chris Whalen On Vikram Pandit's HUGE New Pay Package At Bailed Out & Insolvent Citigroup: "Shareholders Were NOT So Lucky"

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Want To Talk To Vikram Pandit, CEO Of Citigroup? Here’s His Cell Phone Number

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Geithner & Rubin Stopped Bair From Firing Vikram Pandit

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil: Citi's Vikram Pandit May Have Violated Federal Securities Law

Oct 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

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