Yesterday afternoon, it emerged that Goldman Sachs (GS) would team up with Warren Buffett on some new venture to help struggling small businesses in America.
Bloomberg first broke the news a few hours ahead of the embargo.
Now we have the details, of what’s clearly an attempt to improve the bank’s horrible image.
NYT: A little more than a week after Goldman’s chairman and chief executive drew fire for saying the Wall Street giant was “doing God’s work,” the bank said Tuesday that it would spend $500 million — or about 3 per cent of the $16.7 billion it has so far set aside to pay its employees this year — to help thousands of small businesses recover from the recession.
At the same time, the executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, also showed a bit of humility, acknowledging at a conference in New York that Goldman had made mistakes, and that it was sorry. “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret,” he said. “We apologise.”
The bank says it’s been mulling this project for several months, and that it hopes to help at least 10,000 small businesses.
Sure, $500 million isn’t a tremendous amount — as noted, just 3% of what they’re setting aside for bonuses — but it is what it is. A gift that will help a select few, and that’s OK.
The more important part, really, is the apology, though the fact that it took this long, even if the bank thinks it’s total rubbish that they should have to apologise for anything, is pretty shocking.