Did Citi Suffer a Run on Deposits?

Vikram Pandit was on Charlie Rose last night, and was asked point-blank whether there was a run on Citi’s deposits last week. Here’s the exchange, at around the 10:40 mark:

Charlie Rose: So you go to them and decide that we need to do something because there’s a loss of confidence, maybe people were taking their deposits out. Were there? Was it a significant run, in terms of deposits?

Vikram Pandit: As of Friday, which is really when we started talking to the regulators, there was only noise.

CR: "Noise" means what?

VP: Noise in the sense of deposits coming in, there’s deposits going out, meaning the usual kind of activity.


CR: But not a significant number of people of significant wealth coming and saying I’m worried about Citibank, I’ve seen this stock collapse, and we’d better get our deposits out of there.

VP: That’s right. And so from that perspective, again, with 300,000 people around the world knowing exactly the strength of the bank, we did a pretty good job of making sure we had informed our clients about the strength of Citi.

This falls short of an emphatic declaration that there was no run on the bank — but it goes much further than any official communication I’ve seen from Citi about what’s been happening to its deposit base. It’s information which is very important to the market, and Citi stock is up another 11% today, possibly partly as a result.

So, well done to Charlie Rose, for getting this much out of Pandit. But if Pandit was willing to say this on national TV, one wonders why Citi’s communications team couldn’t have said much the same thing officially, before the bailout, when the markets were much more worried about the deposit base.

(HT: Kedrosky)

Update: Dealbook has the full transcript.

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