With the declaration by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that they are going to become national banks, the end of an era is marked. GS and MS were right there at the top, where we lowly mortals used to look at agape and wonder. The world needed those epitomes of elitism and exclusivity--as a source of inspiration as well as the target of scorn about everything that is wrong with the world.
Both sides were right, and both sides were wrong. In the complex world of finance where these behemoths operated, there is no black and white--it's all different shades of gray.
A tale of corporate greed and messy regulations emerges from the meltdown over the last few months. While the ego of Lehman Brothers saw them go under, GS and MS have swallowed theirs and rightly decided on the prudent course of action. Creating money out of thin air is profitable no more, and a return to banking as it always should have been will hold these companies in good stead.
With the aura of exclusivity around these companies gone, the world needs new sources of inspiration. Maybe it will be these same two companies with a new tale of good corporate governance and solid business dealings.
[Consider this a fanboy post.]