Treasury to Allow Banks to Announce Equity Injections

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by ASusilovic, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department has decided to let banks individually announce that the government will invest in each firm, scrapping an earlier plan to release the names of multiple banks receiving federal money all at once, people familiar with the matter said.

    The decision came after concerns that banks left off any group list would appear too weak for government assistance, spooking investors and depositors and potentially making troubled banks' situations more dire.

    Treasury officials were expected to announce investments in about 22 different banks Friday at 11 a.m. They shifted gears after PNC Financial Services Group Inc. announced Treasury was investing $7.7 billion in its bank as part of the deal to acquire National City Corp. National City was denied government assistance and was forced into a sale.

    One reason for regulators' rush to arrange the National City deal by Friday morning was the planned 11 a.m. announcement. Regulators worried that National City's absence from that list would spark a panic among customers and shareholders. Among the banks that were going to be included on this morning's list were Capital One Financial Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

    The government faces a difficult task in announcing the recipients of Treasury capital. While banks that nab federal funds will be marked as survivors, those that aren't could be further destabilized. Anticipating the release of the government's list, bankers and other industry officials in recent days have been drawing up inventories of banks that are likely to be imperiled. Especially vulnerable are the nation's 50 or so largest regional banks, many of which are struggling with swelling defaults and fleeing customers.

    The list "will underscore the differentiation between the 'haves' and 'have nots'," said Morgan Keegan bank analyst Robert Patten.

    One unresolved question is when Treasury officials will publicly confirm each new investment in a bank. Federal law requires it to confirm any investment 48 hours after an investment. It's unclear if Treasury will make that announcement 48 hours after it notifies a bank or 48 hours after the funds are transferred.

    Treasury has already said it will invest $125 billion in nine of the country's top banks, with another $125 billion earmarked for additional equity stakes. Banks have until Nov. 14 to apply.