Treasury plan cont’d

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This is what was submitted:

Treasury fact sheet on asset plan

Treasury will have authority to issue up to $700 billion of Treasury securities to finance the purchase of troubled assets. The purchases are intended to be residential and commercial mortgage-related assets, which may include mortgage-backed securities and whole loans. The Secretary will have the discretion, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, to purchase other assets, as deemed necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets. Removing troubled assets will begin to restore the strength of our financial system so it can again finance economic growth.

While this won’t alter bank capital, bank asset sales shrink balance sheets and ‘make room’ for new lending.

In fact, that was the ‘originate to sell’ model.

This will support output and employment only to the extent it has been constrained by limited capability of banks to lend.

The major effect of having these problematic assets on the books has been in the secondary markets, including interbank lending, which have lesser and only indirect consequence for output and employment.

Supporting the housing agencies ability to lend at lower rates to any credit worthy borrowers directly supports housing and other sectors.

What banks need most is an increase in aggregate demand sufficient enough to increase employment and output.

This proposal for the Treasury to buy bank assists will have little direct effect on aggregate demand.

The timing and scale of any purchases will be at the discretion of Treasury and its agents, subject to this total cap. The price of assets purchases will be established through market mechanisms where possible, such as reverse auctions.

The question of price is problematic.

This is vague as the Treasury doesn’t have clarity on how this might work. It is doubtful that Congress will either. Reverse auctions can result in gross overpricing, which they do not want to happen.

And note the congressional discussion on salary caps for institutions that sell assets to the Treasury – no telling how that will shake out!

The dollar cap will be measured by the purchase price of the assets. The authority to purchase expires two years from date of enactment. Asset and Institutional Eligibility for the Program. To qualify for the program, assets must have been originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008. Participating financial institutions must have significant operations in the U.S., unless the Secretary makes a determination, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that broader eligibility is necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets.