A large majority of U.S. banks claim government bailout money has allowed them to write new loans to customers, while a minority have used it to buy rivals, according to a report by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector-general for SIGTARP-Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The report reveals a continuing argument with the U.S. Treasury over how much information should be disclosed by recipients of the money. Some 83% of the 360 recipients surveyed by the SIGTARP team said they had used funds from the government for lending. That may provide a boost to both the banks and the Treasury after a week in which Goldman Sachs, one recipient of Tarp funds, encountered criticism for preparing to pay large bonuses. Forty-three per cent said they had bolstered their capital cushion, 31% made other investments-such as mortgage-backed securities-14% repaid debt and 4% made acquisitions.
There was no independent verification of the responses. Herb Allison, the former chief executive of Fannie Mae, said in a letter in the report: “It is not possible to say that investment of Tarp dollars resulted in particular loans, investments or other activities by the recipient.”