KNOCKED HEADS NEEDED: Here’s some free advice for Jane Fraser on how to fix what ails Citigroup. I recall hearing a story—possibly apocryphal—that at JPMorgan Chase years ago, the heads of mortgage origination and securitization hated each other so much that they refused to work together to package the bank’s own loans, and used third parties instead. Crazy, right? Soon after Jamie Dimon became CEO, he told the two to stop the feuding and start working together. They didn’t. He told them again. They still didn’t. So he fired them both, and the bank has been securitizing its loans ever since.
See the lesson? Citigroup’s basic problem is that its expenses are always way too high. The bank itself is essentially a rollup of siloed, independent fiefdoms that was assembled by Sandy Weill over the years. I’m sure prior CEOs asked the heads of those fiefdoms to please cool it on the spending. But they haven’t. I’m sure the CEOs even asked nicely, yet the spending still hasn’t come down. OK. At this point, a small dab of the Dimon Solution could go a long way, is all I’m saying.
What do you think? Let me know!