On Monday the first bank was readying its application to sell assets to the Treasury Department under a new federal program to move $700 billion of troubled assets off the books of financial institutions.
The Treasury also moved Monday to put an assistant secretary, Neel Kashkari, in charge of the program, and it issued an outline of how it would select private-sector asset managers to execute it.
Sources did not identify the bank seeking to sell assets, but under the law authorizing the program, the Treasury must make public the type, amount, and pricing of the asset within two business days of its purchase, sale, or other disposition.
The Treasury can make direct purchases through a no-bid process, or it can buy assets through reverse auctions with sellers. The department is expected to begin buying the assets directly within the next few days, so details on pricing may be out within the week. Auctions are expected to take longer.
The Treasury has until mid-November to detail rules for the auctions.
Mr. Kashkari, currently the assistant secretary for international development, previously served as the Treasury's liaison for the Hope Now alliance. Before joining the Treasury in 2006, he had been a vice president at Goldman Sachs & Co.
In addition, the Treasury said that it would select separate asset managers for whole loans and for securities, and that some commercial banks are expected to apply.
The Treasury issued guidance to protect against conflicts of interest among asset managers, some of which will be selling assets into the program as well as helping the government price them.
Also Monday, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, in a question-and-answer period after a speech to the National Association of Business Economists, said that her agency would not shy away from using the "systemic risk exception" to resolve failing banks.
The exception waives a requirement that the FDIC take a lowest-cost approach to any failing bank. It requires the consent of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board in consultation with the president, and it is designed to be used with companies that are important to the integrity of the financial system.
The FDIC invoked the power for the first and only time last week, when it arranged for Citigroup Inc. to buy Wachovia Corp.'s banking operation — a deal that inspired Wells Fargo & Co. to make its own bid for the whole company.
"We still feel we have some latitude regarding the systemic risk exception, and we will use it as we feel we need to," Ms. Bair said.