Treasury giving our warrants away (cont.)

July 9, 2009

Now Elizabeth Warren and the C.O.P is piling on:

The Congressional Oversight Panel, which is charged with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, said in a report that a group of 11 small banks that have repurchased government warrants in exchange for taxpayer-funded assistance, have bought-out the stakes at 66% of their face value.

The report argues that liquidity discounts are a key factor for why the warrants were purchased at such low prices. Should a similar discount be a major factor for warrant repurchases at larger institutions buying out government stakes, the shortfall to taxpayers could be as much as $2.1 billion, the report said.

The report said the C.O.P. is exploring the possibility that Treasury consider selling the TARP warrants in an open, public auction, as an alternative that could possibly give taxpayers a better valuation for the stakes.

“This has the benefit of stopping any speculation about whether Treasury has been too tough or too easy on the banks that want to repurchase their own warrants. It also permits the banks to bid for their own warrants — in direct competition with outsiders,” the report said.

This open market is the same thing Simon Johnson and others have been advocating.  I hope everyone continues applying pressure.  It’s not too late to change the approach.

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