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Financial crisis bailouts - somebody profited

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the federal government wraps up on the many bailouts of 2008, many turned a healthy profit. This doesn't take into account the taxpayers who are still owed more than $200 billion from some of the highest-profile bailouts. Billions of dollars are still at risk.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. Treasury announced this week that it sold $20.7 billion worth of American International Group stock, bringing payments to Treasury from the AIG bailout to $66.3 billion, plus another $930 million in dividends and interest.

The Treasury should turn a profit on the $69.8 billion portion of the AIG bailout, which stems from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The New York Federal Reserve recently reported a $17.7 billion profit on its portion of the AIG rescue. A statement this week pointed out that counting the TARP and Fed bailouts together, the AIG bailout has already turned a $15.1 billion profit for taxpayers.

"Taking action to stabilize AIG during the financial crisis was something the government should never have had to do, but we had no better option at the time to protect the American economy from the damage that would have been caused by the company's collapse," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says.

"To stabilize and then restructure the company with a very substantial positive gain for the American taxpayer is a significant accomplishment."

TARP bailed out the "too big to fail banks," such as Citigroup and Bank of America which needed extra help, as well as other, somewhat less desperate, Wall Street firms such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. These bailouts were repaid at a profit to taxpayers. Treasury records show it received about $25 billion more than the $230 billion that it gave to the big banks.

Only three banks still owe taxpayers more than a half-billion dollars: Synovus Financial of Columbus, Georgia, which received $968 million, Popular, a Puerto Rican bank that got $935 million, and Zions Bancorporation, a Salt Lake City bank. Zions has only repaid half of the $1.4 billion it was originally given.

Much larger than any bank bailout were the billions given to mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose bailouts took place outside of TARP.

Both Fannie and Freddie they received $187.5 billion. Treasury has received $45.7 billion in dividends from the firms, and made an estimated $25 billion profit on the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the last year.

The other company with significant bailout funds still at risk is Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC. The bank, auto and home finance firm was rescued as part of the auto bailout since it was a major source of financing for many of the nation's auto dealers.

Ally received $16.3 billion and has only paid $5.7 billion back to Treasury, primarily in dividend payments. Treasury owns 74 percent of its stock but won't be able to cash out until Ally has an initial public offering.

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