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Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pledged government financing for as much as $2 trillion of efforts to spur new lending and address banks’ toxic assets, seeking to end the credit crunch hobbling the economy.
“Instead of catalyzing recovery, the financial system is working against recovery,” Geithner said in unveiling the Obama administration’s financial-bailout overhaul in Washington today. “At the same time, the recession is putting greater pressure on banks. This is a dangerous dynamic, and we need to arrest it.”
Stocks slumped, led by financial shares, as investors expressed concern about a lack of specifics on plans for addressing the distressed assets choking banks’ balance sheets. Geithner warned today that it will “take time” for the administration’s strategy to bear fruit.
The main components of the Treasury’s package today are a joint public- and private-sector fund to buy as much as $1 trillion of illiquid assets and a $1 trillion program to supply new credit to consumers and businesses. The administration also will inject additional taxpayer funds into banks, imposing tighter restrictions that will include limits on dividend payments, acquisitions and executive pay.
“I want to be candid: this strategy will cost money, involve risk, and take time,” Geithner said today.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index slumped 3.7 percent to 837.37 at 12:32 p.m. in New York. The S&P 500 Bank index fell 12 percent, with Bank of America Corp. down 16 percent. Regional lender Huntington Bancshares Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, slid 23 percent to $2.
“The lack of clarity” on the public-private investment fund “has the market upset,” said Joseph Keating, who helps oversee $3 billion as chief investment officer at RBC Private Asset Management in Birmingham, Alabama. “Nationalization could have been a better outcome for some banks.”
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