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April 28, 2009

Bank of American and Citibank — More Capital Please!

The Federal Reserve conducted stress tests on 19 of the nation’s biggest banks, their aim was to determine which banks are healthy enough to survive another financial shock and which may need additional government support.

Based on the results of the stress tests government regulators have told Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc that they need to get their capital reserves together! The capital shortfall at BoA is believed to be in the BILLIONS.

It sounds to me as if executives at BoA and Citi are still in denial and don’t believe that the stress tests are correct since they have objected to the findings and are planning to respond with “detailed rebuttals” that will show that they do not need to have more capital if they have  another financial meltdown. 

Government officials did say that even though BoA and Citi are being told to raise more capital — they shouldn’t be viewed as insolvent — they just need to shore up their assets and make sure that they are in excellent financial order — not just mediocre financial order.

The additional capital is intended to cushion the banks against potential future losses should economic conditions worsen.  Federal officials have also reiterated in the report that they won’t allow any of the top 19 banks to fail.

It is also believed that regional banks with large commercial real estate loan portfolios such as Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bancorp and Regions Financial Corp may have also performed poorly on the stress tests and are likely to need additional capital as well.

(more…)

January 27, 2009

White House Pushes Citi to Give Up $45M Jet

Change and accountability has come to the White House.  Can I get a collective “YEAH”!

The Obama administration pushed struggling Citigroup to reverse their decision after a Treasury Department official called the company on Monday and “told them it was unacceptable to accept delivery of a new $45 million corporate jet.

The move comes as new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tries to quickly bring more accountability and oversight to the much- criticized TARP program he now oversees.

Citigroup has already received some $45 billion in government bailout funds, which is why a New York Post report about the scheduled delivery of the new jet sparked outrage.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday the president believes private jets aren’t “the best use of money at this point” with America facing a financial crisis.

Citibank spokesman Michael Hanretta said on Tuesday that the company has “no intent to take delivery of any new aircraft.” This came after the company initially said on Monday it could not comment on whether it was purchasing the jet, citing security reasons.

Hours later after the Obama administration contacted them Citi reversed course, issuing a statement saying it signed a contract in 2005 for a replacement aircraft as part of a plan to reduce the number of planes it owns and cut operating costs. “Refusing delivery now would result in millions of dollars in penalties”. “Citi is exploring all its options for these assets, including the potential sale or lease of the aircraft.”

The luxury jet that was to be purchased is a Dessault Falcon 7X, which seats 12. It is so exclusive that Dessault says only 21 are operating around the world, and that the price is listed at $45 million.

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