Herb and Marion Sandler, the founders of Golden West Financial who sold out to Wachovia at the top of the market, were shocked to see themselves lampooned on a Saturday Night Live sketch with the caption "people who should be shot" during a long skit about the feckless players in the current financial crisis. They picked up the phone and complained to SNL's executive producer, Lorne Michaels, who was startled to learn the Sandlers were real people. Shortly thereafter SNL took the unusual step of editing the online version of the skit, removing the caption. Michaels told the Los Angeles Times after his conversation with the Sandlers, "When I spoke to them, I can assure you of this: They are very, very real."

A Gathering of Private equity luminaries in New York was a restrained affair when it came to the question of investing in banks-this despite the government's recent decision to relax rules about PE investment in banks. Given TPG's billion-plus dollar Wamu bath, the consensus at one panel was that PE investments, once they begin, will focus on small banks, those whose books can actually be understood.

Despite harrowing conditions in the financial sector, 13 of the top 100 global brands in 2008 were FIs, according to an Interbrand study. American Express, #15; Citigroup, #19; HSBC, #27; Merrill Lynch, #34; JPMorgan Chase, #37; Goldman Sachs, #38; UBS, #41; Morgan Stanley, #42; AIG, #54; AXA, #55; Allianz, #82; ING, #86; and VISA, #100. Stay tuned for next year when a reshuffling seems likely.

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