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Opening Bell: 12.15.09

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AIG Chief: Key Staff Suffer Financially (WSJ)
THEY ARE PRACTICALLY LIVING IN THE STREETS: Mr. Benmosche said 10 individuals who report directly to him have lost a combined $168 million in prior years' pay since the U.S. bailout of AIG in September 2008. Another five employees at AIG's financial-products division, who are unwinding its derivative trades, have lost $88 million in prior pay.
Wall Street Bankers Put Obama On Hold (NYT)
Andrew Ross Sorkin called Amtrak yesterday to see if Blankfein, Mack and Parsons' story checked out. It didn't: "I called customer service, and the Acela was running only a couple of minutes late." Still, he believes them when they say they really were broken up about not being there: "In fairness, there is little question that they wanted to be there and seemed genuinely disappointed they couldn't make it. (You could hear it in Mr. Mack and Mr. Blankfein's voice when they got on the call. "Mr. President, we're upset we're not able to be there, but we're on line with you now," Mr. Mack said. "It's certainly not for a lack of effort," Mr. Blankfein quickly followed up.)"
Geithner: TARP to Earn Healthy Profit For U.S (Reuters)
"With the recent announcements on repayments, we are now on track to reduce TARP bank investments by more than 75 percent, while earning a healthy profit on that commitment," Geithner said in a statement after Wells Fargo announced it will repay the $25 billion it received from the government.
Bank of America Can't Sign New CEO (WSJ)
This just in: the board is having trouble finding a replacement for Ken Lewis.
Bank of America Said to Be Likely to Name Insider CEO (Bloomberg)
Now that Bob Kelly had officially turned them down, BAC is said to be seriously considering the only guys who might take the job- Gregory Curl and Brian Moynihan.
Madoff auction items may be as phony as his fund (ConnPost)
"People are so stupid," Philip Eliasoph said. "This one in particular is egregious because they're playing on the whole pretense of the Madoff fraud. It's a fraud encrypted in a fraud. Most of what is being auctioned, if you showed up with it at the door of Christie's or one of the other major auction houses, you wouldn't even get in to see one of the specialists in modern or contemporary art."
Lloyd's of London Has Lessons for Banks (Bloomberg)
Life's going to suck for a while: "Lloyd's, fifteen years ago, was the RBS of today," Lloyd's Chairman Peter Levene, 68, said in an interview. The road to recovery is "very long, hard; you haven't got a quick-fit solution," he said.