Reeling from the financial crisis, large financial institutions continue to be vilified in the media. Recent coverage in The New York Times portrays large financial institutions in danger of failing Washington's stress tests, and a belief held by investors that even the most stable institutions may still be undercapitalized and may need to seek new capital from the government. Times Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd slammed Northern Trust of Chicago for receiving $1.5 billion in bailout money and then laying off 450 workers and flying hundreds of clients and employees to Los Angeles for "four days of posh hotel rooms, salmon and filet mignon dinners." Media coverage savaging the financial services industry for its "excesses" and underscoring its weakness has proved disastrous for banking stocks and the sector in general.
While many large financial institutions struggle to explain and justify what the public sees as overly luxurious renovations to corporate suites, a number of smaller regional banks have touted themselves as corporate citizens doing their part to assist consumers and businesses.