Friday, February 24, 2012

Troubled Asset Relief Program

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. It was a component of the government's measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis.

The TARP program originally authorized expenditures of $700 billion and was expected to cost the U.S. taxpayers as much as $300 billion. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act reduced the amount authorized to $475 billion. By March 3, 2011, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that total disbursements would be $432 billion and estimated the total cost would be $19 billion. This is significantly less than the taxpayers' cost of the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s but does not include the cost of other "bailout" programs (such as the Federal Reserve's Maiden Lane Transactions and the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The cost of the former crisis amounted to 3.2 percent of GDP during the Reagan/Bush era, while the GDP percentage of the latter crisis' cost is estimated at less than 1 percent. While it was once feared the government would be holding companies like GM, AIG and Citigroup for several years, those companies are preparing to buy back the Treasury's stake and emerge from TARP within a year. Of the $245 billion handed to U.S. and foreign banks, over $169 billion has been paid back, including $13.7 billion in dividends, interest and other income, along with $4 billion in warrant proceeds as of April 2010. AIG is considered "on track" to pay back $51 billion from divestitures of two units and another $32 billion in securities

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