By Katya Wachtel and Lauren Tara LaCapra
Al Crutchfield, a 56-year-old cab driver who has spent most of his life in Salt Lake City, does not understand why so many Americans are angry at Goldman Sachs.
“Everyone seems to be so mad at them all the time, but I think it’s a good thing for Salt Lake that Goldman’s expanding here,” he said. “I drive lots of Goldman Sachs employees, so it’s good for my business, and their folks are really nice.”
Across America, and elsewhere, Goldman has often been the target of populist rage against Wall Street greed. But Al Crutchfield’s sentiment is not uncommon in this mountain city, where the investment bank has built up a cadre of back-office, technology, operations and research staff. It is now the investment bank’s fourth largest global operation, as Reuters reported Friday.
In fact, when we ventured out west in January, we discovered something akin to a parallel universe to Goldman’s East Coast world, where Wall Street giant has its headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
In Salt Lake, Goldman’s fat paychecks are a talking point for politicians – not a rallying cry for protestors. Here, Goldman’s shiny new office tower, which resembles a mini-version of the firm’s Manhattan fortress on West Street, is stocked with rustic paintings and lodge-like fireplaces, not abstract murals and slick bankers. In fact, the Salt Lake office is located, quite literally, on Main Street.