You might be surprised which bank exec got the most face time with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair this summer.
Reuters columnist Matthew Goldstein got a copy of Bair’s datebook from June through August via a Freedom of Information Act request to find out.
The answer? Citi’s Dick Parsons.
Reuters: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp head Bair and the Citigroup chairman met or spoke on the phone on at least five occasions during the summer, FDIC records show. Parsons got more official face time with her than any single bank executive.
Parsons even had more time with FDIC chairman Bair than Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — the Obama administration’s point man on financial regulatory reform. Bair and Geithner, who haven’t always seen eye to eye on reforming the banking industry, met three times on official business this summer.
Meeting a lot with Citi makes sense. Citi’s was — and is — in a precarious financial state, and Washington has a 34 per cent stake in the bank after lending some $50 billion in bailout funds. And, as Goldstein notes, “It’s been clear that Parsons has taken the lead in handling Citi’s often tense relationship with the FDIC and other federal agencies.”
Still, it’s interesting that Citi CEO Vikram Pandit didn’t meet with Bair. Maybe Parsons managed to keep Pandit on top, but one thing that Goldstein thinks may have come out of the Parsons-Bair meetings is a top-to-bottom management review by a consultant. That could mean changes at Citi.
Writes Goldstein “So should Bair have reason again this fall to talk to Parsons, the result may be less comforting to Pandit and his management team.”