Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hate mail piles up as Americans finger Goldman Sachs as the center of the Wall Street criminal web

Goldman's Worries
(FOXBusiness) -- By Charles Gasparino

Goldman Sachs (GS: 177.5, 2.23, 1.27%) CEO Lloyd Blankfein has told people that he and his firm are so hated that he has gotten as much as 75 to 100 pieces of hate mail in a single day. But being the most despised firm in the financial industry may not be the firm’s biggest problem. Instead, what is keeping Blankfein and his senior management team up at night is the future of Goldman given all the new regulations that are likely to come out of Washington in the coming months.

Goldman, of course, isn’t alone. As Congress creates new rules designed to limit risk taking, and preventing banks from becoming too big to fail, every major firm is facing an uncertain future. Will they be forced to scale down as regulators are prodding Citigroup (C: 4.0875, 0.0675, 1.68%) and Bank of America (BAC: 17.21, 0.178, 1.05%) to do? And how much capital will they have to keep on hand if they engage in risky trading activities?

But Goldman, the most successful firm on Wall Street which produced $40 billion of revenues in 2009, and $12 billion in earnings, may be the firm with the most to lose given its success, particularly in the area of trading. Wall Street executives are bracing for new capital rules, meaning that trading activities will be limited. That’s one reason why Goldman Sachs has decided against a major buy back of its own stock, as was considered last year. The Feds warned against it because it depletes the firm’s capital...

Meanwhile, the firm is grappling with being the target of so much populist ire since it made so much money just a year after being bailed out during the financial crisis along with the other big banks. According to people close to the firm, senior executives still haven’t decided whether to launch an all-out media offensive including for the first time TV ads as the hate mail piles up...MORE...LINK

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