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Big Business Can Play Santa

Citigroup's announcement to suspend foreclosures and evictions for 30 days for 4,000 borrrowers is a nice idea that should be replicated by other businesses.

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the bank,Four thousand mortgages were still in the tankThen spoke Sanjiv Das (with very good diction):"For one month, we'll have no foreclosure or eviction!"

But seriously. It's kind of a nice thing that


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announced today. It only lasts for 30 days, which as one crabby blogger pointed out will simply put more people on the street in a much colder month.

But it's something, isn't it? And yes, it helps the company close out the year without more foreclosures on its books, but still, that can't be the only reason they're doing it, right?

And okay, companies do these kinds of things to get a good PR pop out of the action, but so what? They deserve a few hours of good PR! The result is that 4,000 mortgage-holders will have another month to figure out what they can do to save their homes. That can't be bad, right?

My point is, that sometimes Big Business does do good things simply because it's made up of people just like you and me. The landscape abounds with companies that in this season of love and giving and doing something nice. I'm trying to think of some other examples.

Let's see. Hmmm.... Okay! Well, there's my friend Morton's corporation that promised it wouldn't fire any more people until January. Perhaps we can do better.

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There's the stores that have generously extended Black Friday in perpetuity, except that for some it now takes place on a Saturday. But really, that's just a sales ploy, isn't it?

Give me some time. We'll get there. How about this? My flight attendant on

American Airlines

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gave me an extra banana at breakfast during my flight this morning. Does that count? I mean, it was nice of her. But it doesn't really represent an institutional act of kindness, does it?

I've got it! How about all those nice financial institutions that are going to pay back their TARP money by the end of the year? That's a lot of cash that the federal gGovernment will have that it thought might have just been washed down the drain in the big flood of 2008.

There are a lot of things that we can do with that money, and I think it's great that the banks and insurance companies are giving it back. Of course, it is possible that in doing so they make themselves eligible for 2009 bonuses that are under less scrutiny by Obama's pay czar, but that can't be the only reason.

I know somebody at one of the TARP companies said, "Hey, guys, this is the season of giving, so let's give it back!" Could have happened that way, right?

What else? I'm coming up short here. Perhaps you can help.