Did you really think that Vikram Pandit would really manage to leave Citigroup without topping his infamous memo from last June? His effort today includes one of the most astonishing sentences ever to emanate from a megabank CEO:
We are and will remain a bank.
This sentence could be parsed for hours, but a good starting point is MikeD’s comment on Dealbook:
“We are and will remain a bank.” Thank God! As a longstanding Citi customer, with most of my net worth on deposit with them, I was fearing a different comment from their CEO, along the lines of:
1. “We are not now, nor have we ever been, a bank, nor do we plan to become one” ; or
2. “We are a bank, but not for much longer”; or
3. “We are a bank, but after getting in touch with our inner child we have decided to divvy up all deposits among top management and enter the witness protection program, as stipulated under section 2,367 of TARP (Thanks Hank and Ben ).”
It seems that Pandit’s vision of Citigroup being a "global universal bank" — which seemed at the time to be tautology masquerading as strategy — has suffered a significant downgrade to "we are a bank". As rallying cries go, it leaves a certain something to be desired. But it does provide yet another confirming datapoint for those of us who have long suspected that Vikram Pandit is actually a robot.