On Monday, the financial press reported that Citigroup had announced profits of $3.8 billion in the third quarter, a 74 percent spike over last year, but you won't find mention of the government bailout that saved the bank from nearly going under in 2008.
Three years ago, the government bailed out the bank with a $45 billion injection of capital and shouldered the risk of its $306 billion in toxic assets. Though this is the seventh straight quarter that the bank has posted a profit, chief executive Vikram S. Pandit did his best to sound humble in the company-wide memo announcing the good news. "These are tough times for most economies and for millions of people," wrote Pandit, who thanked the U.S. government and taxpayers in 2010 for saving his bank. "Macro improvement is not likely to come any time soon."
Pandit didn't mention his bank's bailout in announcing this latest round of good news, and oddly enough, neither did most of the major newspapers. In their main articles announcing the numbers, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and the Associated Press (whose story appeared in the The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe) reported the news but failed to remind readers how Citigroup managed to bounce back. Only The New York Times's Dealbook found it useful to mention the bailout, and they did so in the first sentence of their story on Monday morning. But by Monday afternoon, they had updated the story and removed the reference to the bailout.