Lloyd Blankfein: Goldman Sachs Was Never At Risk To Fail Except For When It Was, Which Would Explain The Screaming And Crying Coming From My Office


The Journal ran an interview with Holman Jenkins and Lloyd Blankfein over the weekend on a variety of topics including whether or not the bank will pay out huge bonuses this year despite populist bitching (yes), if Goldman got any special treatment during the crisis (no) and whether or not GS was at risk to fail. According to Blankfein, on the one hand, yes. HELL FUCK YES. Goldman was in the same posish as everyone else and everyone else was going down and going down hard. Save for the night he accidentally walked into then-Goldman chief Hank Paulson's office and saw things he'll never be able to un-see, involving thrusting and the mask from Scream, it was the absolute scariest time in LB's life. You have no idea. Why do think he nearly started crying during a phone call with Tim Geithner? Because he thought it was all over.

Had the financial system collapsed, Mr. Blankfein unhesitatingly acknowledges, "We would have been in that snowball tumbling down the hill with everybody else. It would be ludicrous to say otherwise. As a member of the system, we were all at risk. I will tell you I was more scared than you, because I was closer to it and I knew more. If you had known as much I did, you would have been as scared as I was."

Sounds like some pretty harrowing shit, right? Yeah, if you were working for some dump like AIG it probably was! Luckily Blankfein was working for a bank where the biggest thing they have to worry about is setting off the metal detectors with their gold plated scrots. That thing I just said two seconds ago about GS being in the same position as everyone else? Just messing with you, for sport. Being the "overachievers" we are at Goldman Sachs sometimes we do that, after we're done making it rain.

But he also insists that Goldman was not especially at risk. On the contrary, it came through the crisis without suffering nearly the losses of its Wall Street confrères. "People say, 'Oh, you would have failed, blah, blah.' Well, I didn't think so. Our liquidity was huge. I knew what our liquidity and cash was. It felt OK, but let me tell you, there was getting to be 'run' elements to it."


Which Goldman Sachs CEO "Was Known To Challenge Subordinates To Impromptu Wrestling Matches"?

Was it: a) Lloyd Blankfein b) Hank Paulson c) Jon Corzine d) Stephen Friedman e) Gus Levy f) John Whitehead g) John Weinberg h) Sidney Weinberg i) Marcus Goldman j) other Hopefully you answered D, Stephen Friedman, as that was the answer we were looking for, per a New York Observer piece on financial services employees who feel more comfortable in a onesie than a suit. “I wrestled as well as I could wrestle, and if I lost, that was my own fault,” KKR’s Henry Kravis once told an interviewer about what he learned from wrestling. “I had nobody to blame but myself.” Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris wrestled at the University of Pennsylvania before deciding that making his 118-pound weight class didn’t allow either the time or calories for the old “college experience.” Former Goldman Sachs chief executive officer Stephen Friedman, an AAU champion who wrestled at Cornell, was known to challenge subordinates to impromptu matches. Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain was a college wrestler, though Mr. Novogratz pointed out that Mr. Thain, now CIT Group CEO, wrestled at the Division III level. Fortress Chieftain Mike Novogratz Wrestles with Olympians, Youth…and Wall Street [NYO]