Bottom Dollar

Geithner's Bargain Prices

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gave economists sticker shock when he announced his $1 trillion plan to buy up toxic assets from banks in March, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the scheme might now be scaled back significantly thanks to an improved economic climate. Already one part of the Public Private Investment Partnership, the Legacy Loans Program, is on hold as banks fear additional regulation if they participate and grow more confident in their stability. According to FDIC officials, banks may be overestimating the value of their assets and gains are still fragile, but the latest market rally has made the need for the PPIP less urgent. "There are a couple of factors that are still at play here as we try and develop this structure," FDIC Chairman Sheila Blair said at a news conference Wednesday. "Banks have been able to raise a lot of new capital even before taking more aggressive steps to cleanse their balance sheets, so the incentives to sell may be less."