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Are small banks in big trouble?

While many big banks in the U.S. have been able to pay back the feds for their TARP money, smaller banks are having a tougher time digging into their vaults to pay them back.

Jeremy Hobson: A report out today from the special inspector general who oversees the 2008 bank bailout known as TARP has some bad news about small banks -- says more than 300 small banks that borrowed money from the federal government during the financial crisis have yet to pay it back. They still owe about $15 billion in total.

Josh Brown is with Fusion Analytics. He joins us now from New York as always. Good morning, Josh.

Brown: Hey Jeremy.

Hobson: Does this paint a picture that small banks are really struggling, even as the large banks like JP Morgan and Wells Fargo rake in big profits?

Brown: You know one of the great ironies of the crisis and then the bailout is what we were all concerned in 08 and 09 was having these systemically too big to fail banks --

Hobson: Right.

Brown: The bad news is, they’re even bigger and having all of these small banks that can’t get up on their own feet is a side effect of that so certainly it’s a concern especially in these communities that need small banks to lend to them.

Hobson: And we should mention, it’s not a whole lot of money in the context of TARP, it’s only about $15 billion in the context of $100s of billions that were lent out originally.

Brown: Yeah, it was 163 banks that are not making the dividends and interest payments that they’re supposed to be making to the tax payer, but that number is only $306 million -- you know, these aren’t numbers that are going to affect anyone but the bigger story is, it’s just one less layer of banks in this country below the large, systemically important banks that really seem to be metastasizing if anything and it’s certainly a loss to local areas that had good relationships with banks that won’t look like they’ll be in good of shape as we’d hoped.

Hobson: Josh Brown with Fusion Analytics. Thanks as always.

Brown: Thank you.

 

About the author

Josh Brown is a New York City-based financial adviser at Fusion Analytics.
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