Magazine article American Banker

Wriston: Media Alarm Unjustified

Magazine article American Banker

Wriston: Media Alarm Unjustified

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- Walter B. Wriston, the departing head of Citicorp, says the financial press has reacted with unjustified alarm in its recent reporting of rumors in the international money markets.

"All the talk about shakiness is like throwing a ball in the water; the ripples are felt all over," he said Thursday night. "It doesn't seem to matter [to the press] whether the rumors are true or false."

On a related matter, Mr. Wriston said he doubted Citicorp would take over Continental Illinois Corp. Neither was it likely that anyone else would acquire the ailing Chicago banking company, he said.

"I don't believe [Continental] is going to be merged. I know of no one in the world who can take on $35 million in short-term paper every morning. It's an unconventional problem that has to be solved in an unconventional way."

The chairman and chief executive officer of the country's largest bank holding company said he maintains "utmost confidence in the stability of the [banking] system," but he stressed the need for innovative solutions to the banking world's current problems.

Mr. Wriston was speaking as the featured guest of the Entrepreneurs Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

He claimed that the news media have overreacted to recent rumors about the banking system and warned that if such a tone continues, it will only add to the problem. He dismissed rumors of problems at Manufacturers Hanover Corp. as "absolutely untrue."

Despite the beating bank stocks took last week, Mr. …

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