Chase Manhattan Corp. has lent about $3.2 billion to hedge funds, including the troubled Long-Term Capital Management LP, Chase executives told analysts on Tuesday.
The disclosure was the first in which a banking company has revealed its total exposure to hedge funds. Last week's bailout of Long-Term Capital included $300 million pumped in by Chase.
Chase said 80% of the $3.2 billion was lent to 15 hedge funds. Nine percent of the loans were uncollateralized, 72% were backed by cash and Treasuries, 15% by securities rated A or better, and 4% by paper rated below A, analysts said they were told.
Overall, the hedge fund exposure represents 2% of Chase's $160 billion in loan and loan equivalents.
Analysts applauded the disclosure, but said it did little to explain how Chase and other banks became so involved with what may prove to be a very dangerous type of lending.
"We still don't have a complete picture," said Michael Mayo, a banking analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston.
The disclosure stemmed from last week's blow-up of Long-Term Capital, which needed a $3.5 billion infusion of capital. The commercial and investment banks that had claims on the hedge fund subsequently took it over and set a three-year time frame for returning money to investors.
Chase also told analysts and disclosed in a regulatory filing that the company had available $477 million of profits from government bond investments to offset third-quarter losses from Asian and Russian operations.
The Treasury portfolio is managed as part of Chase's "overall risk management process and a portion of the unrealized gains in that portfolio may be considered an economic offset to its trading portfolio," Chase said in the filing.
Though it said the securities were available, Chase did not make a definite commitment to selling them or disclose if any had already been sold.