If Citigroup survives until tomorrow, crisis-hardened shareholders will likely be snickering at CEO Vikram’s Pandit’s promise to make the government bailout loot he got from Hank Paulson “a profitable investment for the American people.”
It’s been a long time since Pandit has turned a profit – at least for anyone but himself. His Old Lane Partners hedge fund basically broke even before Citi bought it when the bank hired him. He personally made $165 million on that deal.
Pandit, who will be trying to explain his firm’s use of $45 billion in bailout cash, will tell Congress it “will look back on it and know it was the right decision for our nation’s economy and for American taxpayers,” according to a draft obtained by Bloomberg News. “My goal is to make this a profitable investment for the American people as soon as possible.”
Pandit’s pledge was made the remarks in a draft of the testimony he will give at Wednesday’s House Committee on Financial Services hearing, when he joins seven other bank CEOs trying to justify burying their snouts in the Capitol Hill bailout trough.
JPMorgan Chases’s Jamie Dimon and Bank of America’s embattled Ken Lewis also are scheduled to testify about their use of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.