Lloyd Blankfein on CNBC: 'Nobody Can Flagellate Themselves as Well As Goldman Sachs'

Lloyd Blankfein on CNBC: 'Nobody Can Flagellate Themselves as Well As Goldman Sachs'
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Whatever doesn't kill Goldman Sachs makes it stronger.

Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said on CNBC that the Wall Street powerhouse was "probably going to be a better firm" after conducting a "tremendous deep dive" internal investigation into accusations by former Goldman employee Greg Smith that the firm's culture had been corrupted and clients were mistreated.

(Read more: Goldman CEO Says Tougher Regulation Needed)

"I'll tell you the truth, I have anxiety about these things. I don't know always what we don't know," Blankfein said.

If you haven't already guessed, Goldman says that it emerged from its self-investigation completely exonerated from any wrongdoing.

"We checked on everything exhaustively and we didn't find anything," Blankfein said. "And when the book came out, I think a lot of people who reviewed the book didn't find anything."

This has been the official Goldman line about Greg Smith ever since his op-ed was published in The New York Times: Smith doesn't really raise serious allegations—and even if he did, we didn't do any of them. (Read more: Greg Smith: Wall Street Is 'Eat-What-You-Kill' System)

The worst thing about Smith's book, according to Blankfein, is that it triggered momentary self-doubt within the walls of Goldman's headquarters. He described Smith's article as "damaging and jarring" to Goldman's self-image—at least temporarily. Because, obviously, Goldman was able to recover that self-image pretty quick.

You see, Goldman has perfected the art of internal criticism. In fact, it holds the top spot in the league tables of self-flagellation.

"Nobody can flagellate themselves as well as Goldman Sachs can," Blankfein said.

It can now brag about being better at yet another thing than everyone else on the entire global playing field. (Read more: 'There Will Be Compromise' on the 'Cliff': Blankfein)

- by CNBC Senior Editor John Carney


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