Treasury Secretary Optimistic About Long-term Health of Economy
- The Bonez
While speaking to the Independent Community Bankers of America on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that lending is beginning to improve and that the financial sector is past the majority of the process of adjusting away from a heavily leveraged state, though more adjustment will be necessary. He went on to say that the govt. plan to renew a $700 billion bailout package to fund smaller financial institutions after the larger banks begin repaying some of the bailout money they got. He also outlined some broad goals to reform the regulation of the financial industry and stressed the need for federal authority to help dismantle ailing financial institutions large enough to cause significant damage to the financial system as a whole. He suggested that larger financial firms may be required to make regular payments into a fund that would be used to cover costs incurred should one be forced to shut down. Geithner then went on to discuss the administration's proposals for reforming regulation. He said that there needs to be improved rules and that oversight should be consolidated to eliminate banks' ability to choose between regulators. He said that the system currently in place is too complex and that we can't live with it anymore, and that change should come now while memory of the damage of the recent crisis is still fresh in everybody's minds.
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The Secretary received tremendous applause when he said the financial crisis had impacted citizens, owners of small businesses, and bankers who had conducted their business in the right way. He outlined the administration's goal to limit the amount of burden smaller banks and tax-payers will incur because of the irresponsible actions of larger financial institutions. He said money to support smaller banks will become available soon as large banks stabilize and begin repaying funds they got last fall when Lehman Brothers collapsed,
marking the onset of the financial crisis.
Under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, banks with asset totals less than $500 million will have a 6 month period to apply for assistance. Those banks already receiving aid will be able to reapply with the approval process expedited. The basic goal of the plan was to boost the resources of banks so that they would be able to continue making loans through the economic crisis, though some have claimed that banks are have remained unwilling to make loans even after receiving aid.
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