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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FDIC's Bair on "aggregator bank"

by Calculated Risk on 3/10/2009 12:26:00 AM

From the WaPo: Detox for Troubled Assets

The government's plan to strip banks of troubled assets could force some firms to record large losses, but the painful purge would help restore confidence in the banking system, according to Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Bair said yesterday that the effort might require more money than the $700 billion Congress has approved to aid the financial industry ...
This is an interesting interview. It it not clear that Sheila Bair understands that the "public-private investment funds" will overpay for toxic assets because they are receiving low interest non-recourse loans with limited downside risk (a direct subsidy from taxpayers to the banks). She thinks that
"The government, by providing low-cost funding, it will help to tease out that liquidity premium from the pricing and hopefully get the pricing a little higher."
And even at these above market prices, selling these assets will still leave a huge hole in the banks' balance sheets. However Bair sees this as a positive:
Bair emphasized that banks forced to take large losses might not need more government money because, newly cleansed, they would be in position to raise money from private investors. She said the size of the write-downs actually could be a positive, by establishing that banks are free of their problems.
Insolvency is success.