The Financial Services Roundtable has plunged into the fray of financial firms competing to demonstrate to a weary Nation that they have made the best possible use of the bailout funds they received from taxpayers. FSR has come in swinging for large-ish and medium-sized banks, with President Steve Bartlett declaring in a press release that "The media reports suggesting that banks aren´t lending despite the injection of TARP funds are painting an unfairly gloomy report."
A table displays 16 banks´ third- and fourth-quarter lending volumes and is titled, "FSR Tarp recipients who have increased lending in Q4 2008."
OK so first of all, let´s ignore for a minute the two banks, Zions Bancorp and Associated Banc-Corp, which are both listed has having increased their lending in the fourth quarter by 0.0%. They´re just there to provide a little contrast-to `turn up the awesome,´ we shall say-for the banks whose lending changes do register in the positive percentages.
Only one of the Big Nine banks, those that were the first to receive money from the Treasury Department´s Capital Purchase Program, is on the FSR list. Wells Fargo increased its lending by $2.9 billion, which sounds like a lot but is actually a change of less than 1%, and it´s not even a very large sum when you compare it to what Wells received from Tarp: $25 billion.
Where are the other giants? Maybe they aren´t Roundtable members? Citigroup? JPMorgan Chase? Bank of America? Hello? The FSR list just looks bare without these major players.
U.S. Bancorp tops the list with a $10.6 billion increase in lending from the third to the fourth quarter. SunTrust, CapitalOne, BB&T, M&T, and Fifth Third Bancorp all put that Tarp money to work as well, according to FSR.
Kudos to those who have extended more credit in this dastardly environment. They do deserve some more positive media attention-FSR is right.
Disclaimer: This data was brought to you by the same people who spent the past year cheering the success of Hope Now.