×

CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC'S MARY THOMPSON SPEAKS WITH VIKRAM PANDIT, CITI CEO, TODAY ON CNBC'S "POWER LUNCH"

Vikram Pandit
Citigroup
Vikram Pandit

WHEN: TODAY, THURSDAY, MARCH 4TH AT 1PM ET

WHERE: CNBC'S "POWER LUNCH"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Citi CEO Vikram Pandit today.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

----------------------------------------------------------------

THOMPSON: WE'RE HERE WITH VIKRAM PANDIT THE CEO OF CITIGROUP JUST FINISHED TESTIFYING BEFORE THE CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE PANEL ON TARP THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME THE FIRST QUESTION AND I JUST WANT OUR VIEWERS TO HEAR IT FROM YOU THERE'S BEEN SOME QUESTION ABOUT A STATEMENT THAT YOU MADE CONCERNING PROPRIETARY TRADING YOU MENTIONED THAT CITI IS FOCUSED ON BEING A BANK AND THAT YOU WOULD SCALE BACK PROPRIETARY TRADING IS THIS IN ANY WAY AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE VOLKER RULE

PANDIT: MARY YOU KNOW I HAVENT SEEN THE DETAILS OF THE RULE AND I'VE SAID THIS IN THE PAST AS WELL BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION AND WE BELIEVE BANKS SHOULD BE COMMITTING CAPITAL FOR CLIENTS SHOULD MAKING MARKETS PROVIDING LIQUIDITY THEY SHOULD BE MANAGING THEIR POSITIONS BUT FOR US AS A BANK WE'VE ACTUALLY SOLD FIBRO AS YOU ALL KNOW WE'VE SOLD CERTAIN OTHER PRIVATE EQUITY AND HEDGE FUND BUSINESSES AND OUR VIEW IS THAT THOSE ARE NOT BUSINESSES THAT WERE IMPORTANT TO US

THOMPSON: HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT WOULD IT BE ON CITI IF YOU HAD TO COMPLETELY GET RID OF PROPRIETARY TRADING TRADING FOR YOUR OWN BOOK NOT FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

PANDIT: AGAIN A VAST MAJORITY OF OUR MONEY COMES FROM COMMITTING CAPITAL FOR OUR CLIENTS MAKING MARKETS AND PROPRIETARY TRADING IS VERY SMALL PART OF WHAT WE DO

THOMPSON: AT THE OPENING OF THE PANEL MS WARREN SAID THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME MEANING THE TARP BAILOUT THAT CITI HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN A CRISIS AND IS ALMOST BEEN TAKEN UNDER BY A CRISIS WHAT COULD YOU TELL US OR CAN YOU ASSURE US THAT CITI WILL NOT BE ONE OF A MAJOR PLAYER IN FUTUTE CRISIS

PANDIT: YOU KNOW THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE HAVE CHANGED OUR CAPITAL STRUCTURE THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE FOCUSED ON BEING A BANK THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE ARE FOCUSED ON CLIENTS THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE CUT COSTS THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE'RE TRYING TOWARDS RESPONDIBLE FINANCE AS BEING OUR CULTURE BUT I DO ALSO BELIEVE WE NEED REGULATORY REFORM SO LET'S MAKE SURE WE END TOO BIG TO FAIL

THOMPSON: ON THAT NOTE ANOTHER ISSUE THAT WAS BROUGHT UP BY MS WARREN IS WHY NOT SPLIT UP CITIGROUP EITHER ALONG GEOGRAPHIC OR BUSINESS LINES BECAUSE AT THIS POINT RIGHT NOW SOME PEOPLE WOULD CONSIDER YOU TOO BIG TO FAIL THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES SAY BECAUSE THERE IS AN IMPLICIT GUARANTEE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD SAVE YOU THAT IS HELPING YOUR BUSINESS IT IS HELPING YOUR COST STRUCTURE WHY NOT BREAK UP THE BANK OR HAS THE TREASURY ASKED YOU GIVEN THAT THE TREASURY IS A STAKE HOLDER IN CITI ASKED YOU TO LOOK AT THIS AS A POSSIBILITY

PANDIT: WE MAKE OUR DECISIONS BASED ON WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR CLIENTS AND WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR SHAREHOLDERS THOSE ARE OUR DECISIONS AND MY DECISIONS TOGETHER WITH THE BOARD AND WE HAVE MADE SOME DECISIONS WE'VE MADE DECISIONS THAT THOSE BUSINESSES IN CITI HOLDINGS SHOULD BE SOLD IN THAT RESPECT WE ARE BREAKING UP THE BANK AND SELLING IT OUT IN A VERY SYSTEMATIC WAY BUT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO BE GOING FORWARD IS A CORE BUSINESS WHOSE SIZE AND WHOSE SCOPE WILL BE DRIVEN BY WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR CLIENTS WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM US WHAT DO THEY NEED FROM US AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT'S GOING TO SHAPE US

THOMPSON: ONE THING I WANT TO ASK YOU YOU SAID THAT CREDIT COSTS ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DRIVE CITI'S RESULTS IN 2010 WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THE BANK TO RETURN TO PROFITABILITY

PANDIT: YOU KNOW MARY I BELIEVE WE ENTERED 2010 WELL POSITIONED FOR THAT AND ITS REALLY NOT A LONG TERMS ISSUE ON A SHORTER TERMS BUSINESS IT IS ABOUT JOBS AND WHAT THE CREDIT COST ARE GOING TO BE VERSUS OUR CORE EARNINGS

THOMPSON: ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A CERTAIN LEVEL AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WHERE THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL

PANDIT: WE LIKE WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE ECONOMY OBVIOUSLY WE ALL STILL THINK IT IS A LITTLE BIT EARLY WE ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT IT BUT AGAIN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO WATCH IT AND SEE IT HAPPEN

About CNBC:
CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information to more than 340 million homes worldwide, including more than 95 million households in the United States and Canada. The network's Business Day programming (weekdays from 5:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET) is produced at CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and also includes reports from CNBC news bureaus worldwide. Additionally, CNBC viewers can manage their individual investment portfolios and gain additional in-depth information from on-air reports by accessing http://www.cnbc.com.

Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at http://nbcumv.com/cnbc/.