Banks Bailout – Accountability

January 11, 2009

It’s been a quarter since the banks bailout. The purpose of the bailout was to stimulate the economy by relieving the financial markets from liquidity crisis.

At least, that was the explanation offered by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve at the time of request.

They demanded that Congress approve the bailout to a tune of $700 billion as an emergency measure to avert the collapse of the financial market.

There were few stipulations to the approval of the bailout. The general expectation was to revive the housing market with a moratorium on foreclosures and overhauling of the existing loan programs to assist homeowners with affordable payments and ease the decline of the housing prices nationwide.

The other alternative to the housing market crisis was to utilize the bailout drawdown towards restructuring of the mortgage backed securities by allowing default homeowners dealing with foreclosures to refinance at the existing lowest market rate for a fixed period of two years, substituting the amount in the new economic stimulus package by President-elect Obama.

Despite financial bailout by taxpayers, the economic situation is deteriorating with the current unemployment soaring to 7.2 percent exceeding the Depression era. The criticism entirely directed towards government intervention in the revival process.

However, it is worth remembering that lack of oversight and accountability led the financial institutions to a dire state in the free market economy. The corporate executives as the beneficiaries have been responsible for the dysfunctional financial system even though none of them held accountable thus far.

The current administration assured taxpayers that financial bailout targets liquidity in the credit market, housing market decline particularly foreclosures, buy-back mortgage securities held as major liabilities on the banks’ financial reports and ease their burden to facilitate lending to homeowners and small businesses.

If the strategy followed through, it could have reduced the heat on the economy and set the pace for recovery.

In the absence of commitment by the banks, it would be appropriate for taxpayers to demand that the financial institutions release the funds towards lending and contribute to the economic stimulation as agreed to by them.

Failure to adhere to the agreement will result in the blockade of the remaining $350 billion that would be appropriated towards economic stimulus proposal by President-elect Obama.

In addition, the taxpayers’ also reserve the right to demand that the beneficiaries of the bailout return the earlier withdrawal currently hoarded for their undisclosed agenda with interest higher than the market rate.

It is time for checks and balances on the drawdown of $350 billion to various financial institutions.

Checks and Balances:

Have the objectives been achieved?

Is there an oversight committee on the financial bailout as agreed to the taxpayers?

Did the banks provide details of the secured amount to the taxpayers or the oversight committee?

Please be sure to read the articles presented below as they confirm the reality.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


First and foremost, the beneficiaries of the bailout are:

As per

Street Talk – Thank you.

Who Got Bailout Money So Far?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:09 AM

"The Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout plan, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is one of the main U.S. tools to address the financial crisis.

The Treasury Department on October 14 set aside $250 billion of the program to buy senior preferred shares and warrants in banks, thrifts and other financial institutions.

Half that money was allocated to nine big banks, the Treasury Department has said.

Another $38 billion has since been earmarked for regional or small banks, according to statements from individual banks.

On Monday, the department announced its single-biggest TARP investment — $40 billion in American International Group — which the government said would not come from the $250 billion bank capital program.

The TARP has so far committed the following funding:

AIG $40 billion

JPMorgan $25 billion

Citigroup $25 billion

Wells Fargo $25 billion

Bank of America $15 billion

Merrill Lynch $10 billion

Goldman Sachs $10 billion

Morgan Stanley $10 billion

PNC Financial Services $7.7 billion

Bank of New York Mellon $3 billion

State Street Corp $2 billion

Capital One Financial $3.55 billion

Fifth Third Bancorp $3.45 billion

Regions Financial $3.5 billion

SunTrust Banks $3.5 billion

BB&T Corp $3.1 billion

KeyCorp $2.5 billion

Comerica $2.25 billion

Marshall & Ilsley Corp $1.7 billion

Northern Trust Corp $1.5 billion

Huntington Bancshares $1.4 billion

Zions Bancorp $1.4 billion

First Horizon National $866 million

City National Corp $395 million

Valley National Bancorp $330 million

UCBH Holdings Inc $298 million

Umpqua Holdings Corp $214 million

Washington Federal $200 million

First Niagara Financial $186 million

HF Financial Corp $25 million

Bank of Commerce $17 million

TOTAL: $203.08 billion


In addition to the TARP program’s $40 billion capital injection into AIG, the Federal Reserve is providing the company with up to $112.5 billion in separate loans and funds for asset purchases.
Aid to the huge insurance company came after counterparties and rating downgrades forced AIG to post large amounts of collateral for its credit derivatives positions.
Some other insurers are interested in cash infusions, but must own a thrift or bank in order to qualify under the terms of Treasury’s current capital injection program.


The TARP program set a November 14 deadline for smaller banks to apply for capital injection funds remaining in the pool of $250 billion. The deadline will be extended for non-publicly traded banks.

The government’s preferred shares will pay dividends of 5 percent annually for the first five years and 9 percent after that until the institution repurchases them. Participating banks must comply with Treasury restrictions on executive compensation, which limit tax deductibility of senior executive pay to $500,000.

They require bonuses to be "clawed back" if earnings statements or gains are later proven to be materially inaccurate and prohibit "golden parachute" payments to senior executives.”


The following article has the response for all of the above issues:

December 23, 2008.

Economy in Crisis: By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press, Washington – Thank you

Banks mum on bailout spending – They Refuse to provide Accounting

Elizabeth Warren, the congressional watchdog, appointed by Democrats—

“It takes a lot of nerve for banks not to give answers, she says.”

Think you could borrow money from a bank without saying what you were going to do with it?

Well, apparently when banks borrow from you they don’t feel the same need to say how the money is spent.

After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending it. Some won’t even talk about it.

“We’re choosing not to disclose that,” said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Melon, which received about $3 billion.

Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMORGAN Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money, said that while some of the money was lent, some was not, and the bank has not given any accounting of exactly how the money is being used.

“We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to,” Kelly said.

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1billion in government money and asked four questions:

How much has been spent?

What was it spent on?

How much is being held in savings? And,

What ‘s the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

“We ‘re not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking,” said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks, which got $3.5billion in taxpayer dollars.

Some banks said they simply didn’t know where the money was going.

“We manage our capital in its aggregate,” said Regions Financial spokesman Tim Deighton, who said the Birmingham, Ala.- based company is not tracking how it is spending the $3.5billion it received as part of the financial bailout.

The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion – about the size of the Netherlands’ economy – to help rescue the financial industry.

The Treasury Department has been using the money to buy stock in U.S. banks, hoping that the sudden inflow of cash will get banks to start lending money.

There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money.

Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month i.e. November 2008, and implored them to lend the money – not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses or junkets or to buy other banks.

But there is no process in place to make sure that’s happening, and there are no consequences for banks that don’t comply.

“It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry,” said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout.

But, at least for now, there’s no way for taxpayers to find that out.

Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings to the $700 billion bailout in October, 2008.

And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.

“Those are legitimate questions that should have been asked on Day One,” said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., a House Financial Services Committee member who opposed the bailout as it was rushed through Congress.

“Where is the money going to go to?

How is it going to be spent?

When are we going to get a record on it?”

Nearly every bank the AP questioned – including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money —– responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.

A few banks described company-specific programs, such as JPMorgan Chase’s plan to lend $5 billion to nonprofit and health care companies next year.

Richard Becker, senior vice president of Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley, said the $1.75 billion in bailout money allowed the bank to temporarily stop foreclosing on homes.

But no bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money.

Some said the money couldn’t be tracked.

Bob Denham, a spokesman for North Carolina-based BB&T, said the bailout money “doesn’t have its own bucket.”

But he said taxpayer money wasn’t used in the bank’s recent purchase of a Florida insurance company.

Asked how he could be sure, since the money wasn’t being tracked, Denham said the bank would have made that deal regardless.

Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity.

When the AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying:

“We are going to decline to comment on your story.”

Most banks wouldn’t say why they were keeping the details secret.

“We’re not sharing any other details. We’re just not at this time,” said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica, which received $2.25 billion from the government.

Lawmakers say they want to tighten restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the department is trying to step up its monitoring of bank spending.

Warren, the congressional watchdog, appointed by Democrats, said her oversight panel will try to force the banks to say where they’ve spent the money.

“It would take a lot of nerve not to give answers,” she said.

But Warren said she’s surprised she even has to ask.

“If the appropriate restrictions were put on the money to begin with, if the appropriate transparency was in place, then we wouldn’t be in a position where you’re trying to call every recipient and get the basic information that should already be in public documents,” she said.