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March 29, 2009

Bankers On Parade


The CEOs arrived today at the White House alone or escorted by other company executives; some were quickly ushered in through the security gate by Bartlett, while others were forced to go through the usual routine for visitors. Dimon was among the first to arrive and was asked by the guard at the gate to repeat his name twice and spell it once. – Bank CEOs Tell Obama They Are Working Toward Recovery (Bloomberg)

I’m thrilled how Obama corralled those bank CEOs on Friday for a selflessness workshop, then kicked them loose out on the driveway to face a hungry media.

For a group of men who thrive on anonymity outside the business sphere, Obama’s move to put them on center stage was a clever act of taking names. Considering the single file; B 0f A CEO Ken Lewis’ suck-it-up face; and the fact that reporters and photographers were eagerly lined up on either side of Lewis, Mack, Pandit and company, one association here is to running the gauntlet.


The other visual element I found particularly telling is located on Lewis’ lapel.

What I can’t get over is the fact this guy actually went to the White House Friday wearing a Bank of America pin. In symbolic defiance of Obama’s “one for all” message (and the fact “44″ puts such stock in his U.S.A. pin), this accessory is a wonderful demonstration of the problem-at-hand — the co-opting of the American brand in the name of the corporate state.

(In light of the accessorizing, one can appreciate even more how the overall group was tagged by the White House, each receiving an “A” for the day.)

(images: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. caption 1: (L-R) John Stumpf,CEO Wells Fargo, Kenneth D. Lewis, Chairman, CEO, and President of Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis, John Mack CEO of Morgan Stanley, Vikram Pandit ,CEO of Citigroup, John Koskinen, CEO of Freddie Mac, and others walk out of the White House after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on March 27, 2009 in Washington DC)
  • Sergei Andropov

    For the record, “Dimon” rhymes with “Simon”. There is no actual bank executive named “Mr. Demon”. Unfortunately.
    Also, does the “A” on their chests remind anyone else of The Scarlet Letter?

  • lytom

    *Mafia* is extensive…
    “The president made it clear that he’d like this country to get back on track,” Dimon told Bloomberg Television after today’s meeting. “He wants us all to help.”
    The vision of co-operation is frightening.

  • d

    jerk parade.
    i’m not sure what makes me sadder:
    that only a very narrow type of egomaniacal sociopath is actually able to claw his way to the pinnacle of corporate america,
    or that america as a nation still values them far more highly than teachers or other professionals who–as smart or smarter than CEOs–have nonetheless made the hard choice to put their shoulders to the community wheel.

  • Stan B.

    ‘This was a crisis that was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of people that are white, blue-eyed, that before the crisis looked like they knew everything about economics,’ he declared.
    ‘Now they have demonstrated that they don’t know anything about economics.’
    President Lula, head of Brazil’s main left-wing party, said that ‘no black man or woman, no indigenous person, no poor person’ had been in any way culpable for the global banking crisis.
    ‘I’m not acquainted with any black banker,’ he said. ‘The part of humanity that’s responsible should pay for the crisis.’

  • chrisanthemama

    Perp walk.

  • cenoxo

    At first glance it may look like a perp walk, but don’t let the suits and ties fool you. The business of America is business, so this is more likely a Board of Directors meeting.

    It’s been over 20 years, and we still have Barbarians at the Gate looking to burn other people’s money. From the book’s Prologue, F. Ross Johnson — CEO of RJR Nabisco in 1988 — persuades his board of directors to accept the biggest leveraged buyout ever seen:

    When you’re at the chief executive level, there’s never great debt without some gain. Ross himself (hoping for $100 million) still made over $50 million on the deal, helped along at the time by How The Government Subsidizes Leveraged Takeovers, Forbes, 11/11/1998.

    Today, America’s CEO hopes to persuade taxpayers into assuming trillion$ of future debt to rescue big banksters who made bad bets on borrowed debt. Clearly the financial industry is a disaster area, so who are we to deny a little government aid?

    And if you can’t fully support our Boy$ on the front line because you have the misfortune to be in the unemployment line, nothing says “USA!” like a Bank of America lapel pin.

  • stevelaudig

    He should have kept them or is this some sort of “Catch, tag and release” program I am unfamiliary with. Guantanamo is still open and I understand there are some cells now available for people who are, in fact, guilty of crimes. These guys actually damaged the nation, country, state, and society far more than OBL. They might be called “Bankerrists”. For some offenses the humanitarian objections to waterboarding lose their persuasion. I’ll bet they all have photos with “W” tucked away somewhere from happier times.

  • stevelaudig

    “A” is for sphincter.

  • janinsanfran

    Nasty looking bunch of old white guys. Thanks to the Bag for finding this.

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