Just because they're too big to fail doesn't mean Wall Street's largest banks can't have their feelings hurt.
But with the 2016 election kicking off and the financial sector already being vilified by candidates on both sides of the aisle, executives at the biggest banks are getting together to talk about Beltway mean girls, support each other, and plot their revenge.
Senior executives from seven of the biggest U.S. banks gathered or dialed into a March 31 meeting on the 51st floor of the Bank of America Tower in New York to discuss the upcoming election cycle and how the firms can counteract what they view as false and damaging statements about large banks, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the meeting.
Conversation at the gathering reportedly centered on what kind of burn book material type stuff is being said by candidates so far, drinking herbal tea between reassuring smiles*, and brainstorming about what can possibly be done to fight the perception of an evil Wall Street.
The banks aren’t launching a new ad campaign or lobbying blitz, people familiar with the discussions said. And many bank officials are skeptical they can do much to counteract critics without triggering more damaging backlash.
Who was even there though?
According to the WSJ, the meeting on the higher floors of the midtown office tower (perhaps not the best location from which to counter perceptions of money and power) was called by Goldman Sachs executive vice president John Rogers and Bank of America's corporate communications head honcho, James Mahoney. On the guest list were representatives from J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, BNY Mellon and State Street. However "The Wells Fargo & Co. official invited was on vacation."
Well played Stumpf, well played.
With all that firepower in one room, was anything resolved?
The discussion centered on finding ways to emphasize the positive role banks play in the economy and the changes big firms have made since the 2008 crisis, particularly outside the Beltway by engaging with local media, elected officials and community leaders, the participant said.
It's a start.