How Dumb Is Your Bank?

Citi looks stupid and JPMorgan smart, but they have a lot of misery in common

Lucas Jackson — Reuters / Landov; Eyepress; Daniel Acker — Bloomberg News

From left, Angelo Mozilo, Chuck Prince and James Cayne.

When times are good, it's awfully hard to tell the knuckleheads from the geniuses in the financial-services business. That's because bad loans and bad investments tend to look just as profitable as good ones--and sometimes even more so--until trouble hits.

Lots of trouble has been hitting lately, with private-equity loans turning sour, AAA-rated subprime mortgage securities turning into junk, and all manner of other bets going bad. This ought to make it easier to figure out just who in the money business knows what he's doing. Which explains why the just-completed earnings-reporting season for banks and other financial firms was the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!