Day Two: Geithner Tightens Transaction Transparency

In his second full day as secretary of the Treasury Department, Tim Geithner announced the next in what he promised to be a “series of reforms” designed to increase the transparency of financial transactions that have taken place within the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which has recently come under fire for a lack of oversight. On Wednesday, Geithner announced a new policy of posting investment contracts for future transactions on the Treasury’s Web site within five to 10 business days. The campaign, which he said will bring accountability to the TARP and allow taxpayers to monitor the terms and agreements of the transactions, has successfully posted the first nine contracts under the Capital Purchase Program and will post the contracts of other completed transactions on a rolling basis. “In the coming weeks, we will unveil a series of reforms to help stabilize the nation’s financial system and get credit flowing again to families and businesses,” he said. “Included in those reforms will be a commitment to increase transparency and oversight.”  The announcement Wednesday brought the Treasury a step — albeit a small step — closer to achieving that transparency, now that taxpayers will effectively be able to track the money that’s invested and the terms that must be agreed to by the recipient institutions. Read Geithner’s announcement. Contracts to be posted will include transactions made under the Systemically Significant Failing Institutions — as of now limited to the $40 billion injection given to American International Group (AIG) — the Targeted Investment Program — including both $20 billion investments in Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) — and the Automotive Industry Financing Program. The announcement made no mention of the Asset Guarantee Program, through which Citigroup received the assurance of another $5 billion through a government loss-sharing program. The Treasury will have its hands full with the other contracts, however; accounting for all transactions  made through the various vehicles within the TARP, the Treasury will have to upload and post some 327 contracts. The first round of contracts, posted Wednesday, include: Capital Purchase Program Bank of America: $15 billion The Goldman Sachs Group (GS): $10 billion Morgan Stanley (MS): $10 billion Citigroup: $25 billion JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): $25 Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC): $25 billion Bank of New York Mellon (BK): $3 billion State Street (STT): $2 billion Merrill Lynch: $10 billion (granted to BofA after the merger) Targeted Investment Program Citigroup: $20 billion Systematically Significant Failing Institutions AIG: $40 billion Automotive Industry Financing Program General Motors Corp. (GM): $9.4 billion (it also received a loan up to $1 billion) GMAC LLC: $5 billion Chrysler Holding LLC: $4 billion (Chrysler Financial Services Americas LLC eventually received $1.5 billion) Write to Diana Golobay at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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