Wall Street, NY-- Despite 18 billion dollar write-downs for the quarter and massive worries concerning foreign bailouts amidst the credit crunch that threatens to plunge the nations economy into a dangerous recession, spirits at Citibank Inc., the world's largest banking group, seem to be high. The reason? Lemonade.
"When I was young," said Citibank boss Vikram Pandit over the telephone, "the best way to make money was to get some lemons off the tree in the backyard, juice them, and sell, sell, sell! I remember singlehandedly providing my neighborhood with lemony freshness--not too sweet and not too sour. And that's the policy we will continue to strive for here at Citibank. Our economists have worked around the clock, and their projections show that within six to eight months, our lemonade venture ought to balance our current financial crisis."
Of course, others are not so optimistic about the new endeavor. While there has been no public dissent from the Citibank board of directors, inside sources reveal that the decision to sell lemonade outside of the company's Wall Street headquarters was met with fierce resistance. "It was hotly contested," says a anonymous Citibank official. "Half of the board was divided on the issue, saying that bake sales traditionally produce much more capital than lemonade."
"Plus," added the insider, "some kids down the street are moving their lemonade for eight cents a glass. The board is concerned that most people won't pay out the extra two cents for a comparable amount. And the kids have a cute little puppy, too. Understandably, we're concerned that New York may be a saturated market for lemonade."
Pandit himself echoed these fears, albeit more optimistically. "Our projections have shown that New York may not be the most profitable market, but we plan to open stands across the country. It's still warm in Los Angeles right now, and we predict that the warm climate of the L.A. basin will provide more demand for Citibank lemonade than anywhere else."
Economists have published reports upon these rumors of Citibank launching lemonade stands in Los Angeles, saying that if the banking giant were to begin such an endeavor, it would benefit from charging at least twelve cents a glass there. "Demand is so high in the greater Los Angeles area," said Goldman Sachs economist Melvin Schwartz, "that Citibank would do well to meet it with a higher price. It could prove to be the oasis that they're looking for."
Since the announcement of the new venture, several foreign investors have fled to the scene, eager to be the first to grab up the highly prized glass of juice. Wall Street today was largely filled with Arabic and Asian investors, eager to buy what has been dubbed on the market as 'bailout lemonade.' And while Citibank contends that it does not matter who buys the lemonade, however, others worry, claiming that this trend of foreign lemonade buying only fuels concerns that foreign firms will soon buy out the banking giant, and all of its lemonade capital.