Vikram Pandit: 'Occupy Wall Street' sentiments understandable
Washington: Banking giant Citigroup's Indian American CEO Vikram Pandit thinks the sentiments of the Occupy Wall Street protesters are "completely understandable" as US economy recovery fell short of what was wanted.
"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 cant achieve what they are capable of achieving and that's not a good place to be."
Demonstrators have been camped out in Manhattan's financial district since Sep 17 protesting against income inequality, corporate greed and the power of financial institutions. The protests have inspired similar demonstrations across the country.
"I would also corroborate that trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S. and that it's Wall Street's job to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust," Pandit said.
"I'd talk about the fact that they should hold Citi and the financial institutions accountable for practicing responsible finance."
Pandit added that he'd "be happy to talk to them anytime," noting that he would emphasise Citi's efforts to expand small business lending and their decision not to charge a fee for debit card use.
Bank of America announced last month that it would start charging a $5 fee for using a debit card for purchases starting in 2012. Wells Fargo also announced it would test a $3 fee.
Meanwhile in Tehran Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, "Demonstrations against Wall Street will "topple Western capitalism".
"The anti Wall Street protests are very important and their significance is being minimised by American authorities and media, but the people at this point are able to see the corruption of the capitalist system," said Iran's highest authority during a televised speech in Kermashah in the country's west.
Khamenei, 72, referred to the Occupy Wall Street activists' motto "We are the 99 percent" by criticising the US-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The one percent (who are ruling America) launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the remaining 99 percent have to suffer the deaths and pay for it," he said.
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began in early September in New York's financial district in Lower Manhattan and have since spread to other American cities. Protesters contend that the US government is coddling the wealthy at the expense of the majority of the population.
Critics like New York mayor Michael Bloomberg contend the protesters are costing the city money and jobs, while others have called them unpatriotic.