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The storms on Wall Street seem never ending. Every ray of light gets clouded over by some new revelation of ineptitude or intransigence.
Now the finger pointing and blame chasing is back in full force, with
Bank of America
CEO Ken Lewis facing renewed scrutiny over his handling of the
Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's role in all this too.
This doesn't bode well for investor confidence.
Regardless who did what or why, one thing is clear: Shareholders were given short shrift amid the emergency rescue operations that helped shore up our financial system when it was on the brink of collapse.
Some may say that the ends justify the means. Perhaps we are all better off now anyway. But I still believe that it should have been possible to bail out the banks without shafting the shareholders.
I don't much care for the blame game, but I do hope we learn some lessons.
That doesn't seem to be the case over at
. Despite being the poster child for all the bungled banking businesses out there and among the biggest recipients of taxpayer cash infusions, Citi is blithely continuing with business as usual with
Citi says it's just trying to remain competitive and hold onto talent. That's probably true. The bank is no doubt struggling to keep folks motivated, considering all the negative publicity and its paltry $3 share price.
However, Citi wouldn't be in this mess if it hadn't screwed up so badly. The bank has only itself to blame. Having accepted taxpayer money, Citi must now live with the consequences -- which include regulatory scrutiny of its pay practices.
The bank should be lying low at the moment and not stirring up the regulatory fervor behind potential legislation to govern banking compensation.
If Citi wants to escape the government's yoke, there is but one way: repay the taxpayers like
In the meantime, stronger banks will have the advantage. And that's how it should be.
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Glenn Hall is the editor of
. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at
The Orange County Register
and as a news manager at
in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at
in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.