The Wall Street Buzz Rankings 5/7/12

by Lisa Swan on May 7, 2012

Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, gave back-to-back television interviews last week.1. Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs cares. Really. They actually lost a client due to their support of marriage equality, CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently revealed. Blankfein and the company have been on what the New York Times Dealbook calls a “low-key charm offensive,” with the CEO doing interviews with CNBC and Bloomberg and even saying that “we haven’t gotten everything right.”

2. Citigroup

Citigroup is doing a full-scale PR campaign in New York as of late, from giving $41 million to sponsor a city bike-sharing program, to announcing Tuesday-night discounts for Met fan customers at (where else?) Citi Field. In other news, SeekingAlpha.com called its stock a “strong buy.”

3. Bank of America

BofA had a mixed week. It did get thoroughly humiliated with a popular new parody site called YourBofA.com. Surprisingly, though, as of yet, Bank of America has made no legal effort to get the site down, which is a little surprising, given how litigious banks can be. On the other hand, it also had its monthly Museums on Us event this Saturday, fostering an era – or at least a day – of good feeling among its customers.

Signs posted at JPMorgan's Midtown building to celebrate the Facebook IPO4. JPMorgan Chase

As the New York Post noted, there are over 30 banks working on Facebook’s initial public offering, but only JP Morgan Chase is decorating the inside and outside of its headquarters like it has it all. Rivals accused them of being a little, well, tacky. Shocking.

5. Wells Fargo

The bank recently had a bit of embarrassment. Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist.com reports that a man named Syed, who was originally from India, kept his passport in a safe deposit box. Late last month, he got word that his mother was dying. Even though he had a key to get into the box, the bank wouldn’t let him access the safe deposit box without some other form of ID. After days of back and forth with the bank, they finally agreed to let him open the box. However, by that point, his mother had not only died, but he had missed the funeral. Wells Fargo spokesman Kevin Friedlander said hat ”the issue has been settled,” saying that “we called him and we one-on-one worked it out with him.” Really? Did they go back in time to let him visit his dying mother, or go to her funeral? Oh, no? Then they didn’t work anything out!

6. Deutsche Bank The business announced low net profits for the first quarter of 2012. How low did they go? Their stock sank one-third from the same time period last year, and then the bank’s stocks went down 5% in value on the news. One bright note – its fortunes in investment banking continued to improve.

7. Credit Suisse

Urs Rohner, the bank’s chairman, had some gloom-and-doom news, saying that he expected the current “low levels of client activity,” which hurt profits in 2011, to continue. He said that “clients across all businesses are avoiding risk and are barely active.” In addition, the Swiss bank is facing a U.S. Department of Justice probe regarding bank account shenanigans.

8. Morgan Stanley

The company has had two executives in the police plotter as of late. First, there is Garth Peterson, who used to help with their real estate holdings in China. He pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving anticorruption statues. Then there’s the news that William Bryan Jennings, the exec accused of stabbing a cabbie, will soon be going on trial.

9. Royal Bank of Scotland

RBS announced a GBP1.52 billion net loss. This is even worse than the GBP528 million loss they had last year.  The Wall Street Journal says that “in recent quarters, RBS has been taking heavy losses as it writes down bad loans and slims its businesses down.” Consumers have to wonder when the end will be in sight.

10. Credit Agricole

The bank’s stock sank to an all-time low, thanks to concern over Greece. The stock’s value has gone down 21 percent just this year.  It is tied up in the Greek debt situation worse than most other banks; thus, it is being hit the hardest over concerns over the nation’s stability.

Lisa Swan is a Feature Writer for the Compliance Exchange and the Wall Street Job Report. She is also a columnist for The Faster Times and a blogger for Subway Squawkers. Her work has also appeared in the New York Daily News, Yahoo Sports, Huffington Post and the books Graphical Player 2011 and Graphical Player 2010.

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