Banks May Say 'Thanks, But No Thanks' To That New $700 Billion
from the hello-adverse-selection... dept
Last week, in that big post about the financial crisis, one thing I mentioned is that despite all the talk of “moral hazard” — the bigger fear might be moral hazard’s sister problem: adverse selection. That is, it would only be those with truly awful assets and no other options that would take the government up on its offer to buy its “toxic” assets. That may be happening. Reports are coming out that some on Wall Street are considering saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the new ~$700 billion that the Treasury Secretary has been given. The article paints the issue as being about the strings that come attached to it, such as limits on executive pay and golden parachutes. That almost certainly could be a part of the reasoning, but a much bigger part may simply be that these banks recognize that the assets they have aren’t quite as toxic as they’re being made out to be.
Yes, there are bundles of highly questionable mortgages, but contrary to what the media tells you, plenty of the people who possess those mortgages are still paying — and even if they’re not, the property and houses they represent still do have some value on the market — or will someday. Thus, it may be that the only banks that really take up Paulson on a buyout offer, are those with really toxic assets that aren’t likely to appreciate in value. That’s not good for anyone. The more you look at this bailout, the worse it seems. It also makes you wonder why there isn’t more of a focus on using a so-called “stock injection” plan, whereby the gov’t becomes an investor in the banks, rather than just buying out certain questionable assets. That would, in theory, help avoid sticking the taxpayers with only the worst of the worst assets.