NEW YORK — Citigroup Inc. chief executive Vikram Pandit said in a letter to President Obama that he continues to support "strong regulatory reform."
"I believe banks should not speculate with their capital," he wrote in a letter dated Friday, the day after the President's push for financial reform in New York. "I believe derivatives should be cleared and settled centrally. I believe there should be a strong federal consumer authority to protect consumer interests. We should end, once and for all, the phenomenon of 'too big to fail.' We must have a strong systemic regulator. With respect to compensation, we need a merit-based system driven by long-term performance. And it is essential to have a level playing field across the global financial industry."
The CEO said, "These principles are the foundation of regulatory reform and you can count on me and the entire Citi organization to support them."
Pandit has been repeatedly speaking out for reform, and is one of the few bankers in support for a consumer protection agency. In a speech Monday, he said, "Nobody is more for financial reform than Citi."
His bank was among the ones hit earliest and hardest by the financial crisis caused by the implosion of the U.S. mortgage market. Citi got stuck with bad mortgages and other loans it had planned to package into securities and derivatives and sell to other investors. In late 2008, it came close to collapse, and the U.S. Treasury Department still owns 27% of Citigroup's stock.