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Ah, Citicorp can’t get away from the government either…sweet bliss!

June 12, 2009
WASHINGTON - MARCH 03:  Federal Deposit Insura...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Maybe I am being vindictive, but I can’t help but feel happy that Citicorp, which has been the bane of my existence with my credit cards and student loans, now has to answer to the government and increased scrutiny.  I love it.

I get so tired of Citicorp people calling, sometimes 10 times a day, and many of them were really rude up until last month. I have repeatedly tried to set up payment arrangments, and when we were employed full-time, I even entered into re-payment program designed to cut interest rates and all that bullshit.  Turns out, I was sucker-punched with additional fees every month, more than I was making in my minimum payments.  Then, the cards raised my interest rates to 33%because I wasn’t making enough in payments, even though I was paying down the principle, because Citicorp then lowered my spending limit just below what I had as a balance.  So, I got additional fees tacked on.

Now, I hear that Citicorp is fending off its own collection calls, and it makes me smile:

On the line was Sheila C. Bair, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — and a powerful behind-the-scenes player at the giant bank. She was calling to press directors once again to put Citigroup’s troubled house in order.

Ms. Bair urged the board to take swift action to purge Citigroup’s troubled assets, sell money-losing businesses and assess senior management, according to people briefed on the call, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to discuss the conversation.

Is it bad for me to be happy that they are working this way?  I hope not, but it does seem as if Citicorp is getting some of its due.  Frankly, it doesn’t sound as if the government has any more faith in Citicorp’s leaders than the rest of us general public:

The question now is when, or perhaps even if, Citigroup will be able to free itself from Washington. The bank’s embattled chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, is eager to do so. A top goal is to shake off government-imposed restrictions on his employees’ compensation so Citigroup can hire and retain the people it needs to fix itself. The bank is also eager to escape scrutiny from the public and regulators.

I think I could do just as good a job as Pandit, and you know Citicorp, if you ever want some Unasked Advice, you can always read my posts.  I will be happy to school you.  You know, I saw the same trend with Delphi Automotive, GM, and Ford back in 2003, before I had started at Harvard.

These companies had lots of egotistical Old White Men’s Club executives who built their business around the “man’s man” ideas of how cars should be built:  BIG!  The executives tried to forestall FMLA leaves, and even complained when my partner wanted to take a week off after our daughter was born, using his vacation time to do it:  it wasn’t a good time for the company to give him time off.  And Delphi Automotive simply transferred executives who were found guilty of sexual harassment, instead of firing the jerks.  Trouble was brewing back then, and really, bad attitudes and poor customer service don’t make for repeat customers, as Citicorp is finding out.

Now this aggressive and nasty company is still talking from their hind ends, or their CEO’s hind end, and projecting success while the government is telling them to pull themselves together (for God’s sake, slap, slap).  But, with the kind of rhetoric they are spouting:  keep all the good men, don’t let them go to rivals, and not give any information, I see Citicorp heading down the bankruptcy aisle with GM.  Perhaps I will join them there.

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