Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by pcvix, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. pcvix


    Who made the decision to be so "generous" with taxpayer money?


    Beginning late in the week of Nov. 3, the New York Fed, led by President Timothy Geithner, took over negotiations with the banks from AIG, together with the Treasury Department and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s Federal Reserve. Geithner’s team circulated a draft term sheet outlining how the New York Fed wanted to deal with the swaps -- insurance-like contracts that backed soured collateralized-debt obligations.

    CDOs are bundles of debt including subprime mortgages and corporate loans sold to investors by banks.

    Part of a sentence in the document was crossed out. It contained a blank space that was intended to show the amount of the haircut the banks would take, according to people who saw the term sheet. After less than a week of private negotiations with the banks, the New York Fed instructed AIG to pay them par, or 100 cents on the dollar. The content of its deliberations has never been made public.

    The New York Fed’s decision to pay the banks in full cost AIG -- and thus American taxpayers -- at least $13 billion. That’s 40 percent of the $32.5 billion AIG paid to retire the swaps. Under the agreement, the government and its taxpayers became owners of the dubious CDOs, whose face value was $62 billion and for which AIG paid the market price of $29.6 billion. The CDOs were shunted into a Fed-run entity called Maiden Lane III.

    Janet Tavakoli, founder of Chicago-based Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc., a financial consulting firm, says the government squandered billions in the AIG deal.

    “There’s no way they should have paid at par,” she says. “AIG was basically bankrupt.”

    Citigroup Inc. agreed last year to accept about 60 cents on the dollar from New York-based bond insurer Ambac Financial Group Inc. to retire protection on a $1.4 billion CDO.

    Far more money was wasted in paying the banks for their swaps, says Donn Vickrey of financial research firm Gradient Analytics Inc. “In cases like this, the outcome is always along the lines of 50, 60 or 70 cents on the dollar,” Vickrey says.
  2. The simple answer is Goldman Sachs and its "alumni" in the administration. :cool: