Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com
It was a comment that launched a thousand strained attempts to capture its essential absurdity. Sandy Weill, the man who broke the wall between commercial and investment banking, the architect and former chief executive of Citigroup, has decided the whole thing is now a bad idea:
What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail.
That's a massive reversal for a man who two years ago hung a "hunk of wood – at least 4 feet wide – etched with his portrait and the words 'The Shatterer of Glass-Steagall'" in his office. Even then things had changed: Citi was in a shambles, and Weill had gone from the pioneer of an economic boom to an early harbinger of the dangerous financialization of the American economy.
Weill, it turns out, is not the only now-retired finance chief to have second thoughts. The American Banker has a list of other prominent proponents of breaking up the big banks. Phil Purcell, former CEO of Morgan Stanley; John Reed, former chairman of Citi; David Komansky, former CEO of Merrill Lynch -- each one is on the list. Dick Parsons, another former Citi chairman, isn't on American Banker's list, but he should be.