AIG's (NYSE:AIG) new CEO, Robert Benmosche, wants you to know he means business.

In his brief tenure as CEO, Benmosche has said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo "doesn't deserve to be in government." He's warned that even though his job is to break AIG apart and repay taxpayers, "I don't liquidate things, I build them." And he's bragged about how awesome his bathrooms are. "Women go wild when they walk in here," he says of the loo in his Croatian villa.

Now he has a message for the investment banks that'll dismantle the hobbled insurer: Eat it.

Bloomberg quotes Benmosche as saying:                                                              

I went into one presentation, and they said, "Well, the investment banking deal [fees] will be in the range of 2 percent and 2.5 percent." I said, "How about 1 percent?" So then everybody's face turned red, and I said, "So change it." So we're talking about 1 percent, not 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

Bravo, sir. Anyone who knows the investment-banking industry knows that the fees are outrageous. As de facto shareholders, taxpayers should be thankful Benmosche has the backbone to drive a hard bargain. The investment banks, which apparently include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Blackstone (NYSE:BX), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), will do just fine with 1% fees. Not one of these banks would ever walk away from a big deal, especially in this economy. One percent on tens of billions of dollars still adds up, you know.

Don't get me wrong: I still think AIG, from the perspective of current shareholders, is dangerously speculative at best. But I like that Benmosche, unlike his predecessor, doesn't just lie down on his back and say, "All right, vultures, come and get it! We have a taxpayer backstop; pillage away while you can!"

For related Foolishness:                                                   

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.