Pandit and seven other head banking honchos hopped trains and planes this morning (or last night) to head to Washington, D.C., to answer all sorts of fun questions that Congress had about their TARP dollars. Many of the questions had to do with their salaries and bonuses during the last two years, and most of the inquiring representatives were understandably outraged at the big payouts in light of the billions of taxpayer dollars going to these chiefs' firms under TARP. It certainly was a sight to see (and hear) as each CEO rattled off his take home pay for 2007 and 2008 (the numbers in 2007 were in the tens of millions for most; 2008 take home was pocket change in comparison).
Notably defensive and more than mildly irritable was Bank of America CEO Kenny Lewis who, it was obvious, felt (for good reason, at times) as if he were having to answer the same questions put to him by the media in recent weeks such as, "Is BofA in endangered of becoming nationalized?" (Hell no, Lewis said in return (to paraphrase)). Still, he could've taken a page from Pandit's playbook who also had to answer several questions that he's had to field in recent weeks but played nice with the folks from Congress in the process.
Then again, BofA has been doing relatively well as compared to Citi, so perhaps Lewis was in a position not to have to suck up.
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