When Wall Street crawled to Congress hat in hand for a bailout, the House and Senate not only gave them the handout but also imposed no oversight. Wall Street moguls and their institutions have since made hay by using their funds for whatever they have chosen to do. As of today, 187 institutions have asked for handouts from the Troubled Asset Relief Program – better known as TARP.
But that isn’t the worst of it. Financial institutions that are considered “healthy” can also tap into funding through the Treasury Capital Purchase Program (TCPP). Paulson – the head guru who couldn’t get the bailout right – had the following to say about the TCPP:
“We expect all participating banks to continue to strengthen their efforts to help struggling homeowners who can afford their homes avoid foreclosure. Foreclosures not only hurt the families who lose their homes, they hurt neighborhoods, communities and our economy as a whole.”
Yet banks appear to be thumbing their snooty noses at what they were supposed to do. Old National Bancorp – a bank with Indiana ties – announced on November 25th that it would acquire the Indiana retail branch banking network of Citizens Financial Group, which consists of 65 Charter One branches. How convenient. This announcement came less than a month after Old National was chosen to participate in the Treasury Department’s Capital Purchase Program, through which it received 100 million dollars.
Of course, Old National has assured the public that it isn’t relying on its newly found treasure to make the purchase. It appears to be just a coincidence that the bank will get $100,000,000 and it is, at the same time, expanding its holdings.
Sounds like the financial industry has no integrity at this point. If we ever wondered before, this certainly makes it evident. And Congress was the vehicle by which all of this nonsense has come about.
The following are little ole banks in Indiana that have jumped on the bailout bandwagon scrounging for taxpayer money:
- MutualFirst National, Muncie, IN – $32,000,000 (TCPP – healthy bank)
- FFW Corp, Wabash, IN – $7,300,000 (TCPP – healthy bank)
- Indiana Community Bancorp, Columbus, IN – $21, 500,000 (TCPP – healthy bank)
- Old National Bancorp, Evansville, IN – $100,000,000 (TCPP – healthy bank)
- Horizon Bancorp, Michigan City, IN – $25,000,000 (TCPP – healthy bank)
So as the taxpayer swings on the hook for the Wall Street fiasco, recipients of TARP and TCPP funds make hay. As Representative David Scott of Georgia so aptly stated on Wednesday at a hearing:
“We gave them money for one thing and then they used it for another … We’ve been bamboozled.”