Still in critical condition, but lending on its own.
ITIGROUP, ONE OF the mega financial institutions undergoing stress tests ordered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, collapsed on the treadmill this morning just before test results were to be released to the press.
"I'm not sure what Citigroup's collapse will mean to the overall results of our stress tests, but it has to have a pretty significant impact," said Treasury spokesman James Elling.
Mr. Elling stated that doctors noticed Citigroup getting a little short of breath "just after they told it the FDIC may need to take it into receivership," but insisted that Citigroup had "passed previous tests with the very same information.
"So we don't know why all of a sudden it would choke, because we've been stressing it like that for weeks," said Mr. Elling. "Not that I want to minimize its current condition. Our thoughts are with Citigroup's shareholders as we pray for a full and speedy recovery. It is our firm belief that this gutsy conglomerate is just too big too fail."
Doctors at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center, where Citigroup is in critical but stable condition, say the financial institution's collapse under stress will affect how other mega banks are tested in future.
"We've already put much more rigorous monitoring in place," said Dr. Janet Richardson, head of Citigroup's healthcare team, adding, "As big as mega banks are, apparently you've got to watch them every minute. Very touchy organisms."
Dr. Richardson was cautiously optimistic in her team's assessment of Citigroup's prognosis.
"We're hoping for our patient's full recovery, and are pleased to see that Citigroup is now lending on its own, without the aid of a respirator.
"However, we have to confirm to our full satisfaction that no other basic functions, such as cutting off credit card holders without notice or creating mysterious financial instruments, have suffered any loss."
Cautioned Dr. Richardson, "Until we hear 'ca-ching,' it's not out of the woods."
© 5.6.09 Kate Heidel