Restructuring By Example: The Banks Show the Automakers How To Do It

General Motors and Chrysler should follow the example being set by Citibank and Morgan Stanley on the matter of how to properly restructure a failed business model. (I know, the car companies are old news and won’t be back for more TARP money until after the inauguration, but there is a lesson here.)

When a financial institution is restructured one of the means by which this is accomplished is to publish a professionally written, thoroughly referenced and financially cogent document that gets to the point very quickly. Bess Levin (one of the funniest and wittiest financial bloggers around) at Dealbreaker hilariously noted that Citibank, in order to show itself worthy of being restructured, shouted (in effect):

“Check Out How Much Money We’ll Save When We Fire An Asston Of Employees”

Citibank is the largest financial institution in the world (today). Consider that this venerable institution, made of the vision of the great Walter Wriston, had to prostrate itself like Blanche DuBois in the presence of potential buyers before they decided if the bank deserved to wake up tomorrow for the opportunity to live at the mercy of strangers.

Can you imagine the CEO of a domestic automaker doing the same? Perhaps UAW boss Ron Gettelfinger signing off on such a scheme? Not a chance. It should be noted that the massive unemployment anticipated by the continuing restructuring of the world’s largest banks is not directed at the wealthy bank officers but rather the millions of service personnel that will be eliminated from jobs that pay substantially less than the legacy UAW wage.

When will the newly restructured (unemployed) financial industry minions take note of the call by Orwell’s Squealer in Animal Farm and demand to know why some animals (auto workers) are more equal than others?

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