Dear Treasury Secretary Geithner,
Thank you for your remarks this morning regarding the government’s plans to revitalize the financial sector. After the President’s continual assertions that he did not want to ‘preempt’ your comments today, I was anticipating a white knight, or a white horse, or anything a touch more . . . substantial. The markets are disappointed as well.
Your plan affects me and my banker brethren maybe even more directly than workers in the automotive and other beleaguered industries. One major difference between financial services and other sectors is that many of us have absolutely no complementary skills to put to work in other industries. While factory workers can be retrained to a variety of assembly or production tasks, the core competencies of many bankers (haberdashery and churning of pretty pretty pitchbooks) are not sought out anywhere but financial services.
Of course I sound nervous. My own employment prospects inside and outside the financial services sector appear extremely unlikely. I am a soon to be unemployed 11-year veteran, luckier than most in that I am considered somewhat well rounded. I have held positions in investment banking, commercial banking and most recently, managed three hedge funds. Even so, there appears to be no safe haven, just musical chairs for a few remaining slots. I have turned my sights outside financial services, seeking an industry sector finance position. Despite an excellent resume and references, industry collectively maintains that no useful skill set was developed during my tenure in financial services.
Mr. Geithner, I have been a good banker. I have of course participated in some excesses, but overall have worked very hard for my slightly bloated base salary and liberal bonuses. Through it all I have been an avid, consistent and excellently voracious consumer. Even in the midst of this troubling financial crisis, I have maintained a delicate balance between my patriotic duty to “buy buy buy” and my personal finances – snapping up as many full and clearance priced consumer goods as possible while trimming back my personal debt to reasonable levels.
The debut of your rescue plan, the little we could see of it, was not a great success. It’s time to pile on the lipstick and get back on stage. If you can dance your little heart out and sell this revitalization to the American people, it may allow me to remain employed in the financial services sector at somewhere near my current compensation level. I speak for many bankers when I say that, once we see a little stability, those of us that are gainfully employed will race out to acquire consumer goods as fast as our now well-worn Jimmy Choos/Gucci loafers can carry us, resting only for overpriced martinis and dinners out.
Power to the People! Save the Bankers!