Apparently the information that President Obama acted upon, or attempted to act upon, in 2009 led him to the proper conclusion: Break up Citi. He wanted to prove a point to the banking sector that it would in fact take strong action if a large bank became too capital-weak to operate in any meaningful way. While accounts differ, there remains great suspicion that Timothy Geithner either flat-out refused to follow Obama’s instructions, or dragged his feet through the process ultimately killing the plan.
Either way, in the most recent “stress” tests released by the Federal Reserve, it appears Citi is still struggling. It in fact failed in its ability to handle another adverse event. This, after taking more money from the taxpayers than any other bank in the United States, if not the entire world.
So, some four years later, it appears that Obama’s instincts were correct. If only he had these same instincts prior to surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders and economic hacks just following his election in 2008. For that, there is no excuse nor forgiveness.
Other banks which failed included Ally, which also received a special exemption in the most recent foreclosure settlement because it couldn’t muster enough capital to pay its $250 million fine.
You can read a prior article discussing what the banks should pay here.