Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Escaping the TARP Trap

From Time's Citi's TARP Repayment: The Downside for a Troubled Bank:

. . . analysts say Citi's rush to repay the assistance it got through the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will make the bank weaker, not stronger. . .

Christopher Whalen, managing director of research firm Institutional Risk Analytics, thinks the problem with Citi's repayment has less to do with capital ratios and more to do with waning confidence in the bank around the world. In early December, the investment arm of the government of Kuwait sold its entire investment stake in Citigroup. "Foreign investors like to see the government's stake in Citi," says Whalen. "If the government gets out, investors around the world will flee." . . .

Letting Bank of America repay its TARP funds was ridiculous, but letting Citi out is even more problematic," says Whalen.

All this getting away from TARP has one major rationale: to begin overpaying senior management again. Greed is not good but it is eternal.

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009

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