More and more banks want in on bailout
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Kai Ryssdal: The Federal Reserve reported today that bank lending has actually tightened since the bailout plan was passed. You know, back a month ago when the feds first unveiled their plan to use some of the bailout money to buy stakes in U.S. banks, it didn’t go over too well. A lot of the people running them thought that taking government cash would be seen as a sign of weakness. Well, not anymore. As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports from Washington, the new fear is being left out.
Steve Henn: Hunt Burke is a bank president, but he eats lunch just like the rest of us.
Hunt Burke: I had some delicious drunken noodles, but I’m not drunken.
Burke prides himself on running a safe, sober family bank.
Burke: My great-great-grandfather started the bank in 1852.
Burke and Herbert Bank is the oldest in Virginia. And when the feds first proposed buying stock in banks caught up in the mortgage crisis, Hunt Burke had a strong immediate reaction.
Burke: Definitely not interested. We have capitol, we have liquidity.
But recently a friend and banking consultant has convinced Burke to keep his options open.
Burke: And the only reason we had the second thought is in case we had in the back of our minds to purchase another bank this would be a cheap source of capital.
Never mind that the congressional authors of the bailout say the money has to be used for loans, banking consultants and attorneys are busy selling their own bailout ideas. Charles Gabriel is a managing director at Capital Alpha Partners. He says their efforts have started a stampede.
Charles Gabriel: Thousands of banks all marching on Washington trying to get into queue.
But there’s less than $125 billion for cash infusions left. And insurance companies want a piece too.
Gabriel: It doesn’t look like a lot of money when basically every bank has woken up in the last week and decided that it needs to get in the mix.
And Gabriel wonders if individual banks will get enough cash at the end of the day to make a difference.
In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.
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