NEW YORK (AP)—AIG is launching a public relations campaign to repair its reputation.
On Thursday, the once-mighty insurance giant American International Group posted several videos on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/aig, proclaiming that AIG is proud to be an American corporation.
AIG received the biggest government bailout of any company during the 2008 financial crisis, totaling $182.5 billion. The company became a symbol for greed and excessive risk-taking on Wall Street and a touchstone for public anger. AIG was done in by offering large amounts of insurance on complex mortgage-backed investments that it wasn’t able to pay when the U.S. housing market collapsed.
The company has been on the mend since Robert Benmosche, the imposing former head of MetLife, took over as CEO in 2009. Benmosche sold off large chunks of the company to raise money and pay back its loans to the U.S. government. He also set about rebuilding the company’s insurance business.
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Today, AIG is about half the size it was prior to the crisis. Shareholders who owned the stock prior to the crisis were wiped out. But those who bought the stock this year in January did well. It’s up 31 percent year-to-date.
AIG has posted two consecutive years of profits and has paid back its loans from the Federal Reserve. The U.S. Treasury still owns a big stake in the company, but even that has been cut down to about 60 percent from more than 92 percent. The government has made a profit on the stock it has sold.