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Kass: Leave It to Bankers

This blog post originally appeared on RealMoney Silver on April 2 at 7:45 a.m. EDT.

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.
June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.
Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here.

-- "Leave It to Beaver"

This morning my friend/buddy/pal, CNBC's Becky Quick, hosted an hour with bank executives. It was interesting viewing. And the mark-to-market announcement makes today a fascinating one for investors in financials. (Here is Knowledge@Wharton's take on mark-to-market accounting.)

Last week, the management of the leading money center banks met with President Obama and pledged their cooperation to lend and to shore up the equity of their institutions.

Makes me say, Hmmm....

The meeting between the President and the bank executives was a "kumbaya" moment, but unfortunately, from my perch, the moralizing by the bankers was disingenuous and their intentions were simply not as noble as they represented. Indeed, banking executives Pandit and Lewis (in particular) are the New Millennium's Eddie Haskells, a principle character from the classic CBS sitcom "Leave It To Beaver," which was televised in the 1950s and 1960s.

For those not old enough to remember, "Leave It to Beaver's" Eddie Haskell was a character who was overly courteous to Beaver's mother (June Cleaver), but, in reality, he was a bad egg.

Here are some of the quotes and interviews that followed the meeting:

  • "I'm of the feeling that we're all in this together."

    -- Vikram Pandit, Citigroup (C)

  • "We all believe enough in our own importance, but we also believe that we are the single biggest catalyst for recovery."

    -- Richard Davis, U.S. Bancorp (USB)

Here are the reactions of Goldman Sachs' (GS) Lloyd Blankfein and Morgan Stanley's (MS) John Mack as well as that of JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) Jamie Dimon. And finally, here is Bank of America's (BAC) Ken Lewis's impression of the meeting.

Eddie Haskell: Wally, if your dumb brother tags along, I'm gonna.... Oh, good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just telling Wallace how pleasant it would be for Theodore to accompany us to the movies.

-- "Leave It to Beaver"

As I wrote earlier, the aforementioned bankers are the modern day equivalent to Eddie Haskell; they are not to be trusted.

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