So, Vikram Pandit sent this letter to employees late Friday. In it, he repeats the line from Press Secretary Gibbs about the White House being into a private banking sector, which, considering last night's news, now comes off as a little awk! Or maybe not, if you don't consider the "U.S. government substantially expanding its ownership of the struggling bank" a line in the sand.
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 10:40 PM
Subject: Financial Markets Update
As you know, financial markets around the world remained under great pressure this week, again fueling speculation about additional intervention in financial institutions by the U.S. government. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, I want to reassure you that I remain very confident in Citi's prospects and business position around the world. Our Tier 1 capital base is very strong and is one of the strongest in the financial services industry. Additionally, we continue to focus and make progress on reducing the assets on our balance sheet, reducing expenses and streamlining our business for future profitable growth.
While rumors and speculation persist in the market, I want to highlight for you statements earlier today from U.S. government officials. The White House reiterated that it "continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go." Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department said it "plans to preserve a financial system that is owned and managed by the private sector."
I know how challenging these times are, and ask only that you continue your outstanding work in serving our clients and customers around the world. Your hard work is generating results that we are seeing on a daily basis. We need to continue to do our part to instill confidence in the financial system. Building confidence starts with each and every one of us communicating the strength of Citi to our clients and customers every day.
With our presence in more than 100 countries, Citi continues to be uniquely positioned to benefit when the global economies rebound. Thank you for your continued effort and dedication.