“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 ;-)).”
OK, we have to give Pandit partial credit for the old college try under clearly difficult circumstances, but what an unbelievably generic and uninforming memo! Any one of these statements could have been made at any point in Citi’s long history without challenge. It’s simply stating the obvious without giving any real insights or directional guidance. Feels like a management team hunkering down for a tough slog ahead to me.