Economics for One

Rescued Banks Continue to Behave Irresponsibly

A study by USA Today and the American University shows a shocking, but unsurprising result of the bank bailouts:

“Banks that received federal assistance during the financial crisis reduced lending more aggressively and gave bigger pay raises to employees than institutions that didn’t get aid.”

Using federal bank data, they compared 940 banks in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and 7,400 banks outside it.  That’s a pretty thorough study.

Here are some of their published findings:

Lending fell
TARP banks: Outstanding loans to businesses and individuals fell 9.1% for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2009,
Non-TARP banks: Outstanding loans dropped 6.2% in the same timeframe.

Employee pay rose
TARP banks: Average pay rose 9.4% in the program’s first year.
Non-TARP banks: Salaries increased 1.8%.

Cost-cutting limited
Banks in TARP cut costs less than those outside the program.
TARP banks: Increased branches by 2.7%
Non-TARP banks: Decreased branches by 1.2%.

Essentially, what this says is that the banks that the federal government bailed out showed worse behavior than the banks that were not bailed out.  And by worse behavior, I mean worse according to the very metrics the government and policy makers care about and were trying to improve by bailing out those banks in the first place.

Check out the full article at:

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1 Comment so far

  1. Rob June 1st, 2010 7:33 pm

    The Treasury Department, which runs TARP, says the program succeeded. Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly says “overall lending is improving as a result of the government’s actions.”


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