• 26 Oct 2011 at 12:27 PM
  • Banks

Brian Moynihan Would Appreciate You Cutting Him Some Slack

On December 17, 2009, Ken Lewis introduced to the company the guy who would be taking over his job, Brian Moynihan, by telling the audience that one of his successor’s “unique characteristics” was that he “actually wanted the job,” a reference to the fact that no one else, literally, did. While Moynihan was undoubtedly aware that the new gig would not carry the same prestige or money as running Goldman, or the groupies that come with running JPMorgan, or the pony rides that come with running Citi, one thing that apparently came as a surprise to him– but that those who turned down the position could foresee– was that this job? Really, really sucks.

In the beginning, if indeed Bri-O reached that conclusion as well, he kept it to himself, maintaining a stiff upper lip. But as the fruits of Countrywide founder Angelo Mozilo’s labor really began to blossom and Moynihan? Started to lose it.

In November, feeling like he was in a safe space among friends at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Banking and Financial Services Conference, he walked people through a typical day at BofA, i.e. his own personal hell, telling participants: “There’s a lot of people out there with a lot of thoughts about how we should solve this [mortgage mess] but at the end of the day, we’ll pay for the things that Countrywide did,. It’s a day-to-day, hand-to-hand combat.”

At a fundraiser for the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, Moynihan was said to have “laughed” in reaction to a joke by Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman, who told dinner guests: “Brian Moynihan is here tonight. He’s the C.E.O. of Bank of America. As many of you know, Brian’s brother Patrick runs a Catholic boarding school in Haiti. Their parents must be so proud to see two of their boys running an underfunded, nonprofit organization.”  But just below his tranquil, happy-go-lucky veneer, B-Mo was silently screaming, feeling far from happy and anything but lucky. We know this because while he had to act like the cut rolled off his back, like he can take a joke, like it didn’t hit too close to home and like he wasn’t trying to figure out if it’d be possible to contaminate an entire shipment of crab legs and not have it tied back to him, the following day, he let it out. At a town hall meeting on Friday, his voice presumably a-quiver, Brian told employees:

“I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it’s volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well.” To the bank’s critics, he said, “You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”

Now, if someone like, say, Dick Fuld, had said this, it would have been a warning that he was going to start busting skulls. If, someone like, say, Jamie Dimon had said it, it would have been a clear message that the “critics” had best watch their backs and that there’s a vacant lot in Atlanta where bodies can be dumped. When Brian Moynihan said it, however, it was a cry for help. It wasn’t so much a veiled threat insinuating what would happen if the haters continue to yell at Bank of America as it was a voice shaking, knees-cradled, rocking-back-and-forth “stop yelling at me!” He’s cracking and cracking hard.

And, because we care about the guy and can see that he’s thisclose to snapping, we’d like to encourage the investing community to think about what it can do to take the sting off small, every day situations that could push him over the edge. Random acts of kindness towards Brian that could help shake him free of the ‘me vs. the world’ mentality that come to mind include:

- Letting him cut to the front of particularly long lines at Pinkberry

- Taking some shitty mortgages off his hands

- Giving him your seat on the subway when he’s in town

- STOPPING PRANK CALLING HIM during market hours

- Stopping in front of him to tie your shoe so as to have him in earshot when you loudly remark to your friend, “A $5 monthly debit-card fee seems MORE than reasonable to me. Frankly, I think it should be ten.”

- Offering him a job

- Your great idea

‘Incensed’ Moynihan Fights BofA Critics in Letter Campaign [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Brian Moynihan Is Having A Tough Time

Comments (54)

  1. Posted by PermaGuestII | October 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Hold a rugby drink-up in the conference center at One Bryant Park. Make him shoot the boot to bring back memories of his first try.

    -former rugby player

  2. Posted by Went There | October 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Moosefister!

  3. Posted by JHeiss | October 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    How about selling off Merrill Lynch to a wirehouse that actually knows what it's doing? You…uh…know…the…one I'm talking about.

  4. Posted by BrotherLehman | October 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    A hug at the OWS Empathy Table?

  5. Posted by Guest | October 26, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    How about not picking on him on DB?

  6. Posted by pazzo83 | October 26, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Moynihan & Wollensky?

  7. Posted by Abe_Froman_ | October 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    He's one day of occupy Charlotte away from breaking into the Boone’s Farm

  8. Posted by Merritt Parkway | October 26, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Like a deer in headlights.

  9. Posted by Mexi_Cant | October 26, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Everyone in Baml wearing a wig, freckles, and an incredibly ugly face to pretend to have the same genetic deformations as him, to make him feel equal.

  10. Posted by guest | October 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    stay off my turf, capitalist @sshole.

    - Rami

  11. Posted by Merritt Parkway | October 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I'd prefer a shag.

  12. Posted by pazzo83 | October 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I can spot you another $5 billion, Brian. I'll throw in a steak dinner too.

    - Uncle Warren

  13. Posted by Merritt Parkway | October 26, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Is that you Mrs Moynihan ?

  14. Posted by bluehorseshoe | October 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Bess, how about a visit from The Sandwich Fairy.

    -Brian M.

  15. Posted by Spirit Pointer | October 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Pay him more than Tom Montag

  16. Posted by Assburgher | October 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    That's funny, I just got back from changing the checking account for the non-profit that I volunteer for from the $29.95/month option to the free one at BofA. Sorry Bri. Then again, you are now in effect contributing almost $360/year to a worthy cause and I, for one, celebrate that.

  17. Posted by Marv | October 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Hey, things could be worse. It could've been my money.

  18. Posted by jumbo | October 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    So those 30,000 people they're laying off are those who don't do the volunteer work and charitable giving?

  19. Posted by pazzo83 | October 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Charge him $5 every time he uses his debit card in NYC?

  20. Posted by different guest | October 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Actually, it's my turf, commie buttmunch.

    - Curtiss

  21. Posted by Cut Me | October 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Loaning money! A man sits alone at the desk. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he sits alone. But in the office, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, signs, pitches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Ken Lewis, Angelo Mozilo, and so on. If his team don't sell… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the teller stands are full of customers. What does he have to say? I'm goin' out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.

  22. Posted by Wordsmith | October 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Incensed > Embattled

  23. Posted by The Truth | October 26, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Leave Britney alone!

    Wait, what's that? Oh, sorry.

    Leave Brian alone!

  24. Posted by The Truth | October 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Gorat's & Willensky

  25. Posted by PermaGuestII | October 26, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Guy's getting paid $2mm/year to run the 2nd largest bank in the United States straight off a cliff. Please explain why he does not deserve to be mocked.

  26. Posted by HungryIntern | October 26, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    it is a little hard not to pick a on guy who believes b/c his employees give back to the community that they live in his company should receive a carte blanche

    George Jr.

  27. Posted by pazzo83 | October 26, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    I'll put this in Charlotte terms: "Guy's getting paid $2mm/year to make sure that the 2nd largest bank in the United States ends up like Eastland Mall…"

  28. Posted by Cjordan | October 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Occupy Mo-whiny-han

  29. Posted by J Cana | October 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Mumbles needs a good cry towel and a mat to take a nap…or he could nod off with his bud "Sleepy" Keith Banks in Keith's office

  30. Posted by Guest | October 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    They always forget the legitimate years…

    - Raj Raj

  31. Posted by early_hominid | October 26, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Or a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

  32. Posted by vikram pandit | October 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    My advice: do as Dick Parsons and I do when running companies into the ground – enjoy the process and make sure the executive chef is the last guy laid off. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

  33. Posted by pazzo83 | October 26, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Candlelight dinner at Golden Corral followed by a night out at the Coca Cola 600?

  34. Posted by early_hominid | October 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Followed in turn by a full body massage by Dick Bové as he sweetly then savagely croons “Bohemian Rhapsody” (in this scenario the lyrics actually make some sense to me for the first time) accompanied by Wilbur on the piano.

  35. Posted by Not Me | October 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    That's how I woo all my women.
    -Warren B

  36. Posted by Movie Buff | October 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Or a mask of Eric…Billy Madison's nemesis.

    "He's a bad, bad man!!!"

  37. Posted by guest | October 26, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Stewie: Boy I am beat from doing adult stuff all day.
    Brian: What the hell are you doing?
    Stewie: Eeh, not much really. Just me and my pubes, haaaaangin out.
    Stewie: You ever just let your balls hang out, B-Ri? You ever do that, B-roni?

  38. Posted by W. Virginia | October 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Incest > Incensed

  39. Posted by guest | October 26, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Bats ? He's up in the countryside somewhere's hugging a sack of lime.

  40. Posted by Guest | October 26, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Buffet & Wollensky too confusing for your tummy?

  41. Posted by First CEO position | October 26, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Zulu Warrior

  42. Posted by Sally | October 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Why don't you fire yourself, we have a great severance package program for non-performance.

  43. Posted by PermaGuestII | October 26, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    In Bryant Park.

  44. Posted by J. Tree Bro | October 26, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    He can take my Honda Civic for a spin around the block….I'll only ask that he pay me 20 cents for every mile used

    -UBS MD

  45. Posted by Guest | October 26, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Hemorraghing cash and a awful brand > the volunteer hours, charitable giving we do.

  46. Posted by FKApmco | October 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Job swap with Conan O'Brien

  47. Posted by Moneyluv | October 26, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    I get no empathy from this bitch I'm dating. Hot as shit, but cold as ice.

  48. Posted by Guest | October 27, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    huh? Conan has job?

  49. Posted by Heather | November 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    Wow… No wonder so many people got in over their heads with mortgages, and now cry foul .. poor me.. I didn't know I was going to have to pay that much… Really? You just signed paperwork without reading it or if you did read it.. you signed something you didn't understand? When did we become a bunch of whiney, ignorant babies?

    So a company that has tons of people employed, employee's that work some serious hours to do a good job, is bad? People every freaking company out there wants to make money. Otherwise what is the point? Do you go to work and not expect to get paid? Of course not. I know BofA is a nice big target, but don't forget the people who work there, the teller at the bank that wants to help you. The IT guy staying up all night so that when you swipe you ATM card it works.. Or the team that created the software that lets you walk up to an ATM and deposit checks… I guess they are A-holes too huh?

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