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Public-private bank loan sale on hold

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Remember how the government was going to help banks unload some of their risky loans? The plan is called the Public-Private Investment Program, and as you can tell from the name, it assumes that private banks need the public's help. But lately, the banks have been surprisingly able to raise their own money. So the FDIC has postponed the public-private sale of a billion dollars of loans. Marketplace's Amy Scott tells us the banks are hoping they can handle this alone.


Amy Scott: If the banks sold their bad loans now, they might only get pennies on the dollar.

Bart Steinfeld heads the investment banking practice at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. He says all the money the banks have raised lately makes it easier for them to just keep the loans on their books.

Bart Steinfeld: To the extent that banks are able to hold onto these loans and work it out themselves, that is clearly their preference.

So the government put its plan to help them sell those loans on hold.

Tim Ryan is president of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. He hopes the plan's not dead altogether.

Tim Ryan: We've just lived through a year of things happening that we did not see coming. So for me, it's very, very important that they continue doing it, which they said they're going to do. So that if we need it, we have the ability to expand essentially the safety net.

Meanwhile, the Treasury is forging ahead with a plan to rid the banks of so-called legacy securities. An official says Treasury will announce the fund managers approved to run the program in the next week or two.

In New York, I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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