Citigroup aims for strong regulator relationships


Citigroup's new CEO Michael Corbat has a lot of agenda items to address.

One is to convince the world that he's serious about expenses. Another is to steer the bank through the Fed's stress tests in a way that allows for a meaningful dividend increase and/or stock buyback. Another is to field a team of savvy executives that will help make the Corbet era a success. And yet another item is to pave the way for strong relationships with regulators, an agenda item that has received relatively little notice.

Reuters reports that Corbat "has been to Washington at least three times to meet with regulators since taking over. He met twice with Daniel Tarullo, the Federal Reserve's top regulatory official, on November 6 and December 17, a Fed spokesman confirmed, while declining to give additional details. Corbat also met with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on November 6. At the Fed, Corbat's team is following a drive Pandit started in March to talk more with regulators and make certain the company's next plan will be approved....Corbat has also met with officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as the Treasury Department."

You can't argue with the logic of this. You need relationships, and regulatory relationships may have been an area where his predecessor was lacking. The head of FDIC was all but openly calling for ex-CEO Vikram Pandit's head at one point.

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