Citigroup. Ashes to ashes. Born in subprime

It’s too bad that tens of thousands more will be losing their jobs at Citigroup. The stock is cratering and Citi will cease to exist soon and then be scavenged by vultures.

Citi wasn’t just stung by subprime, they had their birth in subprime. Sandy Weil built the empire starting with some real stomach-turning scumbag subprime outfits in the South.

A Tale of Two Citis.
Columbia Journalism Review
Dean Starkman Wed 3 Oct 2007

It took an obscure magazine to reveal how Sandy Weill built his empire on subprime lending. Why?

Let’s face it, only the likes of Commercial Credit Corp., of Baltimore, would sell 40 percent loans to barely literate residents of Mississippi’s Noxubee and Lowndes* counties, tacking on credit insurance to bring the rate up to 70 percent. (Never mind what credit insurance is. Just don’t buy it.) Or maybe Primerica, of Atlanta, which Tennessee regulators accused of “seeking to deceive and confuse” customers through “a system of deliberate evasion.” Or maybe the truly rancid Associates First Capital Corp., of Irving, Texas, so corrupt that it employed a “designated forger,” an ex-employee told ABC’s Prime Time Live. I mean, who would go near a bunch like that?

Whoops! My bad. Sanford I. Weill, the former chairman and CEO of Citigroup Inc., Fortune’s third-most admired megabank last year, got his start buying Commercial Credit in 1986, then bought Primerica in 1988 before merging with Citicorp a decade later.

Banking On Misery: Citigroup, Wall Street, and the Fleecing of the South
Institute for Southern Studies and Southern Exposure magazine
Michael Hudson. June 5, 2003

Citigroup the biggest financial corporation in the world. And under the leadership of CEO Sandy Weill, a surprising share of its fortunes come from suspect deals that target vulnerable consumers with exorbitant interest rates, hidden fees, and practices that fair-lending advocates say “skirt the edge of the law.”

“It’s a pretty lowdown company that would take advantage of the working poor like this,” says Tom Methvin, an attorney with Beasley, Allen, an Alabama firm that represents hundreds of borrowers who claim Citi did them wrong. “Behind the curtains, they prey on the most vulnerable people in our society.”


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