Flipping through the Sunday New York Times looking for the book review, I was interested to see that there was a full page ad for Citi on page 10 of the first section.
The ad was certainly topical. Citi advertises that in this “economic climate, access to financial resources is critical.” They continue that it is their “special responsibility” to provide “those resources.”
Furthermore, Citi wants to assure the reader that they’re lending; they are lending to people who have worked hard to own a home, as well as to small businesses and global corporations. In addition to these customers, Citi isn’t leaving out “those traditionally overlooked by the banking industry.”
Well, I’m afraid that part of this mess is due to the fact that no one had been overlooked by the banking industry in a number of years, right?
Well, that’s cited to be a big part of the problem if you happened to have noticed the front page. The article that cites that the “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire.” The article opens with a quote from President George W. Bush on October 15, 2002, in which he says, “…part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.”
Furthermore, an article featured on Bloomberg.com reveals that though Citi had just received $65 million in government dollars to reboost their capital after suffering losses for four consecutive quarters, their debt was lowered two grades by Moody’s. The previous Aa3 rating is now an A2.
But, in their ad, they promise that they will help not only their customers but also their country to become “financially stronger and more secure.”
So, flipping along further into the Times, I stumbled across another full page ad on page 21. This time it’s for Bank of America, and their headline screams that instead of just helping people to buy homes, they’re helping people to stay in them.
They give up the numbers. The ad reads that “we’re offering to modify over $100 billion in mortgages to help keep up to 630,000 borrowers in their homes.”
Along that line, they write that they are “taking steps” to give people loans that ensure a customer’s success at being a homeowner, and more about responsibilty and so forth.
Well, that’s handsome rhetoric right now, but to judge matters based on recent news, Bank of America stock stumbles still; an analyst from Friedman Billings Ramsey, Paul Miller, “reinitiated coverage of the Charlotte-based bank with an “Underperform” rating,” according to a recent Associated Press article, “Ahead of the Bell: Bank of America.”
The New York Times, National Edition. Sunday, December 21, 2008. Vol. CLVIII, No. 54531. Quote from President George W. Bush included in Article by Jo Becker, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Stephen Labaton, “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire.”
Fineman, Josh. “Citigroup’s Debt Lowered Two Grades to A2 by Moody’s (Update). “December 18, 2008, Bloomberg.
Associated Press. “Ahead of the Bell: Bank of America.” December 16, 2008. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/12/16/ap5826986.html