Poor Vikram Pandit. Every time the Citigroup Inc. chief executive thinks he has the company's problems licked, there goes Wells Fargo & Co., showing him up without breaking a sweat.
In 2008, Pandit thought he had a done deal with Wachovia Corp. in a merger agreement that would have given Citi a much-needed boosts to deposits. But in walked Wells Fargo with a competing offer, and Citi was back to square one.
This week Pandit proudly announced Citi's exit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, but all did not go as planned. Citi shares fell, and the company couldn't get a stock offering done at a price high enough to appease the government, which decided to postpone efforts to unload its $25 billion investment in Citi's common stock.
And then there was Wells Fargo, which let Citi bask in its initial Tarp-repayment glory for a few hours on Monday before announcing that it, too, would repay. Wells Fargo shares climbed on the news, and the bank raised more than $12.2 billion in what turned out to be an easy sell to stock investors.
Evans' Texas Tour
Good luck finding Dick Evans in the corporate headquarters right now.
Evans, the chairman and CEO of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., is in the midst of an annual ritual, paying a personal visit to each of the company's Texas branches. He also slips in time to hobnob with employees in various call centers, processing centers, and lending offices as part of the December tour.
"We're about halfway through," Evans said during an interview late last week from a San Antonio branch, estimating that he had visited roughly 60 locations. It is a practice he has maintained for a dozen years.
"People are our most important asset, and I think you ought to walk the talk," he said. "This is my chance to show appreciation and wish them a happy holiday. I also get to learn more about every nook and cranny of the company."
Yes, Evans said he has even found time to close a loan or two while on the road.
This and That
Another former Wachovia Corp. executive is leaving Wells Fargo & Co.
ING Group NV said Wednesday that Lynne Ford would become the chief executive of the annuity unit ING Financial Solutions early next year. Ford was the managing director of the retail retirement group at Wells, which bought Wachovia last December. She also held several key posts at Wachovia unit Evergreen Investments from 1993 to 2003. …
BB&T Corp. made it official Wednesday, naming Kelly King chairman. King will succeed John Allison on Jan. 1, completing a succession plan first announced late last year. King replaced Allison as BB&T's CEO in January.