Ten big banks may be thinking that they may soon be able to sponsor golf tournaments, fly their corporate jets willy-nilly, hire foreign workers instead of American citizens and pay their executives preposterous salaries once again without interference from our government.
The real reason the banks are in such a hurry to repay the TARP loans is that they seem to actually believe that by repaying the funds the government will no longer intervene in their business practices – they’re wrong.
They’re wrong not because President Obama and his administration wants to be in the banking business but because Obama and his administration is going to continue to hold the banks accountable until President Obama believes that they have dug themselves out of the deep hole that they’re in and that the banks are on a solid foundation and that American depositors monies are safe and secure.
The banks are anxiousness to win back their independence but they might be acting prematurely. Let them be warned, if they find themselves in another deep hole President Obama most likely will not save them a second time and what will they do then? They should really, really ponder that. If I were a bank executive I would hold onto the monies until I was 200% sure that my bank was on a seriously solid foundation.
A concern of the Obama administration is that if big banks rush to return bailout money, it could prevent them from having enough capital to continue lending. The Treasury Department, in conjunction with the Federal and other bank regulators conducted stress tests of the 19 largest banks this spring to see if they had enough capital to withstand worse-than-expected economic conditions.
Nine passed the test. But 10 others were required to raise a total of $75 billion as a cushion against potential future losses on bad mortgage loans and other investments if the recession worsened. The Federal Reserve said Monday that the 10 banks including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co had submitted acceptable capital-raising plans.
Eight of the nine banks that were found to not need new capital following the government’s bank stress tests last month said they will pay back TARP funds. They are:
JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street and regional banking giants Capital One, BB&T and U.S. Bancorp.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley which was the only financial firm that regulators did ask to raise money after the stress tests confirmed it also won approval from the Treasury Department to pay back $10 billion.
Chicago-based Northern Trust which received $1.576 billion in TARP funds was not part of the bank stress tests but said on Tuesday that it had also won government approval to exit the program.
All 10 financial firms indicated that they intended to pay back TARP funds by redeeming the preferred shares the government acquired in them last fall. Such a move would return approximately $68 billion to the government’s coffers.
So far, the Treasury Department has allowed nearly two dozen small, mostly community-based lenders to redeem the government’s preferred shares, representing nearly $1.9 billion in taxpayer money.
In a press conference Tuesday, President Obama said such repayments “a positive sign,” but warned that the financial crisis still presented challenges to both American businesses and consumers
“This is not a sign that our troubles are over, far from it,” he said.
Proceeds received from those 10 banks will be applied to the Treasury Department’s general account and some of the funds will used to promote financial stability should the economy take a turn for the worse. A portion of those funds will also be used to reduce Treasury’s borrowing and rein in the nation’s rapidly rising deficit.
Regulators are fearful that major financial institutions which are responsible for issuing a substantial amount of credit to the U.S. financial system may cut back on lending even further as a result of paying back TARP funds and could therefore endanger what may be a budding economic recovery.
Several bank chiefs downplayed these concerns in statements issued Tuesday stating that they will be there for consumers and businesses seeking loans.
“We fully expect to continue to vigorously offer lending opportunities to our credit-worthy consumer, small business, corporate and institutional customers, invest for future growth and support the U.S. government’s overall efforts to stimulate the economy,” Richard K. Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, said in a statement.
Watch President Obama’s Press Conference about TARP money payback: