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Geithner: Confidence is back in markets

September 11, 2009|Neil Irwin and David Cho | Irwin and Cho write for the Washington Post.

The Obama administration is retooling its rescue of the financial system, looking to wind down programs viewed as having run their course while considering new initiatives to address lingering concerns.

This shift comes as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and his colleagues are trumpeting their stewardship of the federal bailout efforts, as they did Thursday in a series of remarks on Capitol Hill and to the media.

"The emerging confidence and stability of September 2009 is a far cry from the crippling fear and panic of September 2008," Geithner told an oversight committee that Congress created to monitor the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

As the rescue moves into a new phase, a Treasury Department program to support money-market mutual funds, put in place during the dark days of the financial crisis last fall, is set to expire Sept. 18, and Geithner will not move to extend it, he said Thursday. And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is weighing how to wind down its program to guarantee bank debt, which was a crucial means of support to banks last fall but is now less widely used.

The administration is weighing what to do with the remaining bailout funds and expects to roll out plans this fall. One of the government's priorities is a program to support small-business lending that was announced in February but has been delayed by several nettlesome issues.

The administration is also developing an initiative to inject capital into community banks, which play a crucial role in lending for commercial real estate, according to people familiar with the planning.

The Treasury Department is also moving forward with a long-delayed program to buy troubled assets from banks, although the effort has become less urgent.

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