CEO magazine has an interview with Sandy Weill. I found his response interesting to the question of what Citi learned from the recent down cycle.
think one lesson that we've all learned, and our company has certainly learned it in spades, is that reputational risk are every bit as important if not more important than credit risk and market risk. We understand that sometimes it's very important to look at what you do and say, "Jeez, while this may be legal, how would this look if it was on the front page of the paper three years from now?" Would you want to do that? And in some cases walk away from business today because that might affect your reputation, which is going to affect your ability to do business in a big way in the future.
Warren Buffett has said for years that a reputation takes years to build and only seconds to ruin. Whether it is right or wrong for people to judge you on things other than skill or ability to deliver is irrelevant. They do judge you, even if not done consciously. Reputation matters, and always will.