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Jun 23

Letting Geithner off easy on the TARP

Posted by Ron F in Timothy GeithnerTARPObama Administrationfinancial market reformfinancial crisisCongressoinal Oversight PanelcomplianceBanksbanking reformBankingbailouts

Ron F

Tim Geithner once again says taxpayers are getting a good return on the funds they provided banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

And his line about 75 percent of the money being repaid may be true enough. It may even reflect this uncomfortable fact.

But 91 banks missing their dividend payments last month is hardly something to write home about.

I'll let Yves Smith go on about how bad the deal was for taxpayers from the  go.

(But here's the money quote for those who don't want to read the whole thing: "The deal was lousy on its face, and it did NOT serve to advance what should have been the overarching objective, namely, putting the industry on sounder terms, say by using the leverage to extract key concessions. Instead, this was another manifestation that the officialdom has adopted through the entire crisis: patch the system up with duct tape and baling wire, and if it looks even remotely operational, tout it as tremendous success.")

My two cents: Why didn't Elizabeth Warren ask him about the fact that the number of banks missing their TARP repayments is on the rise. According to SNL Financial, for 23 of the 91 banks and thrifts that skipped the May dividend payment under the TARP, it was the first missed payment. For the others, it was at least their second miss.

SNL reports that this is the third straight quarter that the number of banks missing their TARP payments. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November. SNL found 20 banks have missed four or more payments since the program began in 2008, while eight banks have missed five payments.

Maybe these are small banks, so the overall picture is improving. But it's hard to see how when housing is showing fresh signs of serious weakness.


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