“I Was Shocked I Would Be Joining a Lower-Tier Commercial Bank”: Life After Buyout

As we near the “big Money Bonfire of 2008,” a number of questions weigh heavily on the nation’s mind: Should the federal government receive shares in the banks and companies being bailed out? Is $700 billion enough? Can we have another day to think this over, Mr. Paulson? But most of all the nation has been wondering what will happen to current and prospective Ivy League bankers. This is where Ivygate comes in. Last week we ran a feature where worried bankers told you they were “trying to stay positive.” This week we bring you…um, more quotes from bankers.

George, an Ivy-educated pseudonymous banker working as an analyst at Merrill Lynch, describes how he found out about Bank of America’s buyout of Merrill:

I was shocked. I was screaming.

One of my friends at Bank of America texted me, ‘Hey, we might be buying you guys.’

I was in denial. You see, Merrill has a much better repuation than a commercial bank like Bank of America. I was shocked I would be joining a lower-tier commercial bank. There’s a feeling, ‘I didn’t go through this whole interview process to work at a commercial bank.’

Hopefully, Bank of America won’t change too much of Merrill’s culture.

Jeffrey, a pseudonymous Ivy grad working at JP Morgan, had this to say:

Lots of people will be jobless in the coming months.

I applied for jobs at Lehman. I could have been that guy with the Lehman job. It’s very frightening.

After the jump, George returns to tell us why $700 billion isn’t enough and why Goldman Sachs’s and Morgan Stanley’s decision to become “bank holding companies” is the end of i-banking as Ivy League cash bonanza.

Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs became “bank holding companies.” This means they will face stricter regulation in exchange for Uncle Sam’s promising to have their backs. Or something. It also means they will have a harder time making the inconceivable profits we all associate with investment banking. According to George, this may spell the end of i-banking’s mysterious popularity among Ivy League students. George says:

Changing compensation will obviously change the attitude of students toward the industry. They might go to med school or law school instead.

This is a sad week.

We may be losing the competitive advantage for getting the best talent.

George admits he is a little fearful his job will be pulled but remains confident he will have a place at Bank of America:

Nothing is actually secure. But I guess Merrill people should feel more secure because Merrill is a better investment bank than Bank of America.

George also has some ideas about Paulson’s proposed $700 billion bailout:

It’s a good step toward stabilizing the turmoil. If the government can take the balance sheet pressure off the companies then the companies will look better going forward.

Whether $700 billion is enough is another question.

Usually, when you invest in a company you receive shares or some type of stake for your money. Should the government receive shares in exchange for this unprecedented investment? George says:

Obviously that’s not going to be good for Wall Street.

In the long-run I’m not sure we want state-owned enterprises.

Why that would be…communism!

This crisis just got ugly.

  • http://blah.blah.blah/ George is in Denial

    “Obviously that’s not going to be good for Wall Street”

    Man, I can’t believe the denial that the Wall St. folks are in.

    That’s not going to be good for Wall St. Are you kidding me? If I invested $7 in a company, I will control that company to the bones. If I am investing $700B in a company, I will control the company and the employees, their compensation, their trips to bathroom, and more.

    IMO the bailout is a very bad idea.

  • http://blah.blah.blah George is in Denial

    “Obviously that’s not going to be good for Wall Street”

    Man, I can’t believe the denial that the Wall St. folks are in.

    That’s not going to be good for Wall St. Are you kidding me? If I invested $7 in a company, I will control that company to the bones. If I am investing $700B in a company, I will control the company and the employees, their compensation, their trips to bathroom, and more.

    IMO the bailout is a very bad idea.

  • Anonymous

    george sounds like an idiot, his pov is so simplistic its the the kind of thing you hear from summer interns

  • Anonymous

    george sounds like an idiot, his pov is so simplistic its the the kind of thing you hear from summer interns

  • ViolentQuaker

    I like George. He makes me feel better about myself in comparison.

  • ViolentQuaker

    I like George. He makes me feel better about myself in comparison.

  • hedgehog

    @ George is in Denial:

    What part of “that’s not going to be good for Wall Street” did you misunderstand?

  • hedgehog

    @ George is in Denial:

    What part of “that’s not going to be good for Wall Street” did you misunderstand?

  • Boohoo

    It’s like waking up to find out you’re now a student at Cornell.

  • Boohoo

    It’s like waking up to find out you’re now a student at Cornell.

  • tjs

    >I was shocked. I was screaming.
    >
    >One of my friends at Bank of America texted me, ‘Hey, we might be >buying you guys.’
    >
    >I was in denial. You see, Merrill has a much better repuation than a >commercial bank like Bank of America. I was shocked I would be joining >a lower-tier commercial bank. There’s a feeling, ‘I didn’t go through >this whole interview process to work at a commercial bank.’

    No, but you went through your whole life to become a douchebag.

  • tjs

    >I was shocked. I was screaming.
    >
    >One of my friends at Bank of America texted me, ‘Hey, we might be >buying you guys.’
    >
    >I was in denial. You see, Merrill has a much better repuation than a >commercial bank like Bank of America. I was shocked I would be joining >a lower-tier commercial bank. There’s a feeling, ‘I didn’t go through >this whole interview process to work at a commercial bank.’

    No, but you went through your whole life to become a douchebag.

  • crisis_contained

    Junior analyst George is about to get a refresher in supply and demand. I think it may be time for George, et al to learn how to operate a crane.

  • crisis_contained

    Junior analyst George is about to get a refresher in supply and demand. I think it may be time for George, et al to learn how to operate a crane.

  • Dear God No!

    A commercial bank?! Is there anything worse?

    Oh, right, an investment bank that over leverages it’s own assets and assumes people will be able to pay back exorbitant loans to it. That’s worse.

  • Dear God No!

    A commercial bank?! Is there anything worse?

    Oh, right, an investment bank that over leverages it’s own assets and assumes people will be able to pay back exorbitant loans to it. That’s worse.

  • European

    Hi, Americans, vouz me faites pleurez! First your finance manners risk the world’s economy – after having rejected for YEARS all europeans proposals for more transparency – and then your great issue is your personal carreer. are you aware in which state your oversized nation has come since september 11? first you start a war based on lies and misinforamtions which weakens you and all the western world strategically for years; then you destroy your moral credit with torture kidnapping and illegal camps all over the world; and now you are ruining your economic basis. and all this under constand public praying of your leaders. Mr. Paulson asked us europeans to join your 700 billion fund for saving your bankrupt economy. and he was the same guy who with the usual arrogance of your politician answered to our demands for reforms. really, vous me faites pleurez. time is running out. get more modest. know the world and become less provincial.

  • European

    Hi, Americans, vouz me faites pleurez! First your finance manners risk the world’s economy – after having rejected for YEARS all europeans proposals for more transparency – and then your great issue is your personal carreer. are you aware in which state your oversized nation has come since september 11? first you start a war based on lies and misinforamtions which weakens you and all the western world strategically for years; then you destroy your moral credit with torture kidnapping and illegal camps all over the world; and now you are ruining your economic basis. and all this under constand public praying of your leaders. Mr. Paulson asked us europeans to join your 700 billion fund for saving your bankrupt economy. and he was the same guy who with the usual arrogance of your politician answered to our demands for reforms. really, vous me faites pleurez. time is running out. get more modest. know the world and become less provincial.

  • Ivywanna Job

    “George” sounds like another George who doesn’t know dick about the economy, the country or the needs of the nation. G.W. & Ivy. Best and brightest my a**

  • Ivywanna Job

    “George” sounds like another George who doesn’t know dick about the economy, the country or the needs of the nation. G.W. & Ivy. Best and brightest my a**

  • Anonymous

    Amen, my french writing friend! AMEN.. Someone is fooling Americans that merely saying IN GOD WE TRUST is going to cover a multitude of sins!

    Sorry George, my boys are earning money the HARD way -they studied Medicine and Law and I think their minds are pretty sharp!

  • Anonymous

    Amen, my french writing friend! AMEN.. Someone is fooling Americans that merely saying IN GOD WE TRUST is going to cover a multitude of sins!

    Sorry George, my boys are earning money the HARD way -they studied Medicine and Law and I think their minds are pretty sharp!

  • genevieveyorke

    oh, right, European, because european banks like credit suisse haven’t had their own troubles. and europe doesn’t have its own history of stupid wars and torture and squandering of the moral high ground (COUGH! france in algeria!). and because all americans are blissfully ignorant of what their country has done over the past 8 years, right? and george w bush was reelected with 100% of the vote in 2004. and every american is responsible for the irresponsibility of those on wall street?

    look, you’re preaching to the choir here, dude, about the stupid things some americans have been up to over the last decade. just don’t insult the rest of us by assuming that every american is happy or complicit with what’s going on.

    but mostly i just wanted to say that if you want to smarm it up in french, at least try to get the grammar right. vous me faites pleureR, douchewad.

  • genevieveyorke

    oh, right, European, because european banks like credit suisse haven’t had their own troubles. and europe doesn’t have its own history of stupid wars and torture and squandering of the moral high ground (COUGH! france in algeria!). and because all americans are blissfully ignorant of what their country has done over the past 8 years, right? and george w bush was reelected with 100% of the vote in 2004. and every american is responsible for the irresponsibility of those on wall street?

    look, you’re preaching to the choir here, dude, about the stupid things some americans have been up to over the last decade. just don’t insult the rest of us by assuming that every american is happy or complicit with what’s going on.

    but mostly i just wanted to say that if you want to smarm it up in french, at least try to get the grammar right. vous me faites pleureR, douchewad.

  • PissedEngineer

    Retards! Banking, medicine and law. These are the only though our country needs! The heck with school teachers, physicists, chemists, biologists ect. Lets all just prescribe meds, sue each other, and figure out ways to get people to take on more debt. Screw everything else, just outsource it to people who actually know how to do REAL things!

    Stop chasing the faith-backed buck and start doing what your REALLY want to do or what REALLY needs to be done for a change. The world does not need more overpaid doctors and lawyers, and it definitely does not need more bankers.

  • PissedEngineer

    Retards! Banking, medicine and law. These are the only though our country needs! The heck with school teachers, physicists, chemists, biologists ect. Lets all just prescribe meds, sue each other, and figure out ways to get people to take on more debt. Screw everything else, just outsource it to people who actually know how to do REAL things!

    Stop chasing the faith-backed buck and start doing what your REALLY want to do or what REALLY needs to be done for a change. The world does not need more overpaid doctors and lawyers, and it definitely does not need more bankers.

  • Some dude

    Shocked and in denial? Where was this genius when they were making dumbass bets on the sub-prime market? Its your dogfood that you got bought out by a commercial bank, so deal with it!

  • Some dude

    Shocked and in denial? Where was this genius when they were making dumbass bets on the sub-prime market? Its your dogfood that you got bought out by a commercial bank, so deal with it!

  • y08

    European, you’re an idiot. Before you talk crap, let’s have a little history lesson. The Marshall Plan? Saved West Europe?

    Think about the times the French have had financial crises (every other year, as I recall… didn’t they have some sort of riot thingy that trashed the outer suburbs of Paris over the course of 4 weeks a couple years back? all about economic inequity, I believe). Hell, let’s bring all of Europe into this–how’s that Russian economy doing with that whole rampant inflation thing? And the slipping standards of living?

    Now, worldwide. Maybe you’re not too young to remember the Southeast Asian crisis? I remember it, and theoretically you’re my age… what happened there? Japan triggering a recession throughout Asia that domino’d through the world, huh?

    But no, you’re right. The big bad US of A, being a financial bully, tying itself to world economies in an effort to promote globalization (that’s a discussion for another time, all my polisci and econ people), has once again screwed the whole world over through speculation, greed, and hedge funds. Something that NO OTHER COUNTRY has. and it’s definitely not in your interest to bail us out; no, you’ve had the same problem with the chinese buying up your currency so they can string up a sword of damocles over your economy.

    spare me, euro-liberals. i’m all for obama, or whatever, but string together arguments that make sense–and don’t equate the economy with abu ghraib.

  • y08

    European, you’re an idiot. Before you talk crap, let’s have a little history lesson. The Marshall Plan? Saved West Europe?

    Think about the times the French have had financial crises (every other year, as I recall… didn’t they have some sort of riot thingy that trashed the outer suburbs of Paris over the course of 4 weeks a couple years back? all about economic inequity, I believe). Hell, let’s bring all of Europe into this–how’s that Russian economy doing with that whole rampant inflation thing? And the slipping standards of living?

    Now, worldwide. Maybe you’re not too young to remember the Southeast Asian crisis? I remember it, and theoretically you’re my age… what happened there? Japan triggering a recession throughout Asia that domino’d through the world, huh?

    But no, you’re right. The big bad US of A, being a financial bully, tying itself to world economies in an effort to promote globalization (that’s a discussion for another time, all my polisci and econ people), has once again screwed the whole world over through speculation, greed, and hedge funds. Something that NO OTHER COUNTRY has. and it’s definitely not in your interest to bail us out; no, you’ve had the same problem with the chinese buying up your currency so they can string up a sword of damocles over your economy.

    spare me, euro-liberals. i’m all for obama, or whatever, but string together arguments that make sense–and don’t equate the economy with abu ghraib.

  • nic b

    Thank goodness for the end of investment banking. Now our best and brightest will no longer be sucked into an endless spiral of greed at the cost of sleeping and contributing to society. I know far too many bright people who turned into snobby ibanking drones… they could have done great things with their lives had they not gotten involved in banking.

  • nic b

    Thank goodness for the end of investment banking. Now our best and brightest will no longer be sucked into an endless spiral of greed at the cost of sleeping and contributing to society. I know far too many bright people who turned into snobby ibanking drones… they could have done great things with their lives had they not gotten involved in banking.

  • suckers

    This is why I took a job at News Corp.

  • suckers

    This is why I took a job at News Corp.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Georgie Boy ~ You, and all of your arrogant, uber-greedy ilk, can go to hell, and we hope you do. “best and brightest” my butt…you have destroyed so much. We hope every one of you ends up unemployed and destitute. The country would be a lot better off if we started all over again with new financiers ~ along with a return of FDR’s regulations, which prevented the 1929 meltdown from happening again.

    Oh, and a big shout out & thank you to Phil Gramm, McCain’s economic advisor, for gutting the last, best banking regulation: the Glass-Steagall Act. Let’s remember that McCain supported all of that crap.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Georgie Boy ~ You, and all of your arrogant, uber-greedy ilk, can go to hell, and we hope you do. “best and brightest” my butt…you have destroyed so much. We hope every one of you ends up unemployed and destitute. The country would be a lot better off if we started all over again with new financiers ~ along with a return of FDR’s regulations, which prevented the 1929 meltdown from happening again.

    Oh, and a big shout out & thank you to Phil Gramm, McCain’s economic advisor, for gutting the last, best banking regulation: the Glass-Steagall Act. Let’s remember that McCain supported all of that crap.

  • Milton Friedman

    FDR made the Great Depression longer and more severe.

    The failure of liquidity during the market re-correction was due to FDR’s monetary policies.

  • Milton Friedman

    FDR made the Great Depression longer and more severe.

    The failure of liquidity during the market re-correction was due to FDR’s monetary policies.

  • wallace clark

    Fuck all of you.

  • wallace clark

    Fuck all of you.

  • Anonymous

    George sounds like an autoworker from the 70s that can’t believe his gravy train has dried up.

    Given how much financial services has distorted the economy over the past decade (hasn’t it quadrupled? Gone from less than 10% to about 30%?), I think that having smart talent move to medicine (or even law – or my favorite, engineering) is a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    George sounds like an autoworker from the 70s that can’t believe his gravy train has dried up.

    Given how much financial services has distorted the economy over the past decade (hasn’t it quadrupled? Gone from less than 10% to about 30%?), I think that having smart talent move to medicine (or even law – or my favorite, engineering) is a good thing.

  • non-ivy MBA

    LOL…..wow. Foolish little IVY’s. Your all so smart and masters of what universe? What, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and the rest didnt teach you the basics of finance? Clearly not. Now it’s our turn to show what non-ivy, thinking professionals can do. We actually have classes that require quanitative skill, require us to take exams, and achieve a grade….not get a P or F and move on to the next soft-skill BS elective that allows you to think about some theoretical “leadership” technique.

  • non-ivy MBA

    LOL…..wow. Foolish little IVY’s. Your all so smart and masters of what universe? What, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and the rest didnt teach you the basics of finance? Clearly not. Now it’s our turn to show what non-ivy, thinking professionals can do. We actually have classes that require quanitative skill, require us to take exams, and achieve a grade….not get a P or F and move on to the next soft-skill BS elective that allows you to think about some theoretical “leadership” technique.

  • @non-ivy

    Well, I suppose one out of three isn’t too shabby for a non-ivy MBA.

  • @non-ivy

    Well, I suppose one out of three isn’t too shabby for a non-ivy MBA.

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