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Sandy Weill: 'Banks aren't the same anymore'

CNBC 25: Bridging two eras

Between spending his early days as a runner for Bear Stearns, all the way back in 1955, and creating one of the largest securities firms in America with Citigroup, Sandy Weill has touched the way that Americans bank and live. Jim Cramer knows that Weill has a good perspective on the future of banking.

In an interview with Cramer at CNBC's 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, Weill stated, "I think the regulations are saying—that we can't think about banks the way we used to think about them. The regulators are not letting banks make mistakes. You can't risk the money, so our banks are really handcuffed on what they have an ability to do."

Though he retired as chairman of Citigroup in 2006 and stepped down as CEO in 2003, Weill has continued to keep his finger on the pulse of banking.

"Most young people graduating from colleges are not going to banks anymore. They're going into hedge funds and private equity companies instead … I think that we're not attracting the people, and it's not a fun place to be," Weill said.

In this April 18, 2006 photo, Citgroup Chairman and CEO Sandy Weill is shown after a shareholders meeting in New York.
Jennifer S. Altman | Getty Images

Weill is a dealmaker by nature. He headed up the small brokerage firm Shearson Loeb Rhoades in 1960, to ultimately become the second largest securities firm behind Merrill Lynch. He sold the firm to American Express in 1981 for $930 million.

The entrepreneur made his mark from a regulatory perspective when he ushered the merger between Travelers Group and Citicorp, to ultimately become Citigroup, and shattered the Glass-Steagall law which prevented insurance and financial companies to do business together. Weill still has a wood etching of himself engraved with the words "The shatterer of Glass-Steagall".

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Both Weill's philanthropic and immense experience in banking will continue to usher leaders into the next 25 years and beyond. He connected the future economy with the future of banking, as he knows the economy needs education.

"Our banking system really helped build the emerging market. It helped create economies around the world and has allowed over a billion young people to go from poverty to middle class. That's the future, if we don't get people out of poverty we don't get them educated," said Weill.

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