Washington: As a
protest movement against corporate America grows bigger by the
day, Citigroup's Indian American CEO Vikram Pandit thinks the
sentiments of the Occupy Wall Street protesters are "completely
"Their sentiments are completely understandable," Pandit said in
an interview Wednesday with Fortune Magazine. "The economic
recovery is not what we all want it to be, there are a number of
people in our country who can't achieve what they are capable of
achieving and that's not a good place to be."
"I would also corroborate that trust has been broken between
financial institutions and the citizens of the US and that it's
Wall Street's job to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that
trust," Pandit said adding "I'd be happy to talk to them any time
they want to come up."
Several hundred people tied to the movement marched on the New
York City homes of Wall Street figures, including billionaire
hedge fund manager John Paulson and JP Morgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie
Dimon Wednesday. Four people were arrested outside Dimon's offices
as protesters called in vain for a meeting with him.
Pandit, who bought a 10-room apartment on the Upper West Side for
$17.9 million in 2007, said he would tell the protesters how
Citigroup, the third-biggest US bank, is trying to increase
lending to small businesses.
Originally called for by the Canadian activist group Adbusters,
Wall Street rallies started last month in New York's financial
district Sep 17 protesting against income inequality, corporate
greed, the power of financial institutions and advocate higher
taxes for the wealthy.
As the protests inspired similar demonstrations in some 70 cities
across America, news media coverage of the Occupy movement has
spread, too, to the front pages of newspapers and the tops of
Coverage of the movement last week was, for the first time,
quantitatively equivalent to early coverage of the Tea Party
movement in early 2009, according to data released Wednesday by
the Pew Research Centre.
Meanwhile, the movement, which has been compared by some to the
Arab Spring movement, sparked clashes in the national capital
Washington DC and Boston where scores of protesters were arrested
In Boston, scores of protesters were arrested Tuesday morning,
including a group of veterans, in one of the largest mass arrests
in recent Boston history.
In Washington, six people were arrested as protestors entered a
Senate office building and began chanting loudly and unfurling
banners calling for the end of overseas wars and for increased
taxes on the rich.
As the anti-Wall Street protest reached San Francisco Wednesday,
protestors surrounded the Wells Fargo Bank corporate headquarters
and blocked its entrances leading to the arrest of 11
Pledging to "foreclose the banks," demonstrators marched
protesters posted blown-up foreclosure notices on the doors, held
up by stickers reading, "We are the 99 percent."
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)