The Treasury Department, under pressure to revive lending, is demanding monthly reports from the companies that received the most capital from the $700 billion rescue program.
Neel Kashkari, the official who administers the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote to Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., and 18 other companies Jan. 16 seeking figures on business and consumer loans.
The Treasury also asked for details on purchases of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. (Mr. Kashkari plans to stay at the Treasury for a few more months.)
President Obama's aides have criticized outgoing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's approach to rescues as lacking transparency and not doing enough to get credit flowing though the economy. Mr. Paulson has said the cash injections averted a collapse of the financial system, but President Obama had to pledge changes before lawmakers approved the release of the second $350 billion.
"Anyone who looks at it has got to be disappointed when they look at what's happened to lending, has got to think the results have been unsatisfactory," Lawrence Summers, the director-designate of the National Economic Council, said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation."
Joseph Mason, a Louisiana State University professor who previously worked at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said: "Banks are becoming the whipping boy for the Treasury's failed policies. They're going to continue to face this pressure."
Michael Hanretta, a Citi spokesman, said it will meet all reporting requirements. Scott Silvestri, a B of A spokesman, had no immediate comment.
The Treasury also asked the companies for commentary on their lending activity, to provide "qualitative" updates on trends. In addition, the government wants information on secured lending and the underwriting of debt and equities.
The first report will cover data for October, November, and December and is due Jan. 31. Results will be made public, and subsequent reports will be monthly.
In addition to B of A and Citi, the companies that received the Treasury's request are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., U.S. Bancorp, SunTrust Banks Inc., Capital One Financial Corp., Regions Financial Corp., Fifth Third Bancorp., BB&T Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., KeyCorp, CIT Group Inc., Comerica Inc., State Street Corp., Marshall & Ilsley Corp., and Northern Trust Corp.