Citi Chairman Has An Idea Re: Bank Regulators (Hint: There Should Be Fewer Of Them)

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Some might say that a bank shouldn’t suggest that some of its regulators would be better out on the street than in a comfy office nit-picking what some other regulator has already nit-picked. Indeed, Citi Chairman Michael O’Neill said so himself. But he just can’t help it, so he’s going to come out and say it: When his bank inevitably does something wrong again, he’d really prefer to take only one irate phone call, rather than three.

Mr. O’Neill made the proposal to merge bank oversight from the current mix of the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in a room full of regulators and financial experts….

“To be fair, they do make efforts to coordinate, but each has its own interests,” he said—not to mention different terms and timetables.

This did not sit at all well with Gary Gensler who, though he is no longer a regulator, is not interested in having Citi, of all banks, tell someone else how to do something. Plus, he’d thinking that dealing with convoluted bureaucratic mazes would be right in the Citi chairman’s wheelhouse.

On the panel, Mr. Gensler took the view that it is good to have multiple regulatory agencies because they can keep obscure products from falling through the cracks. He also lightly ribbed Mr. O’Neill, who at the start of his comments showed the audience a series of complicated diagrams to illustrate the regulatory overlap firms like his face.

“I would note that he did not put up the organizational chart of Citi,” Mr. Gensler said he told his fellow panelist, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson’s reply, according to Mr. Gensler: “That’s because it’s Too Big To Graph.”

Citi Chairman Would Like Just One Bank Regulator [WSJ]

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