Financial Regulatory Forum

EXCLUSIVE-U.S. Fed group eyes insurance fund for key market

By Kristina Cooke and Elinor Comlay

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Banks, investors and industry groups last week discussed creating a backstop insurance fund to lessen the risk a distressed dealer could trigger a crisis in the world’s largest funding market.

The discussions took place at a New York Federal Reserve sponsored industry workshop last Wednesday, according to presentations obtained by Reuters.

Participants in the tri-party repurchase market — a key funding source for dealers that briefly seized up during the financial crisis — have been tasked by the central bank with coming up with reforms to strengthen the market which, at its peak, financed more than $2.8 trillion in securities per day.

The market has shrunk from that level since there are now fewer participants and dealers, but it is still the critical finance market for the broader financial system.

Repos, or repurchase agreements, are contracts for the sale and future repurchase of a financial asset, most often U.S. Treasuries. In the tri-party repo market, clearing banks JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon CorpĀ  facilitate trades between counterparties and hold collateral.

U.S. lawmakers turn up heat on Geithner over AIG

By Glenn Somerville and David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers turned up the heat on U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner over his role in the bailout of insurer AIG, challenging his claim he did not influence a decision to keep quiet AIG payments to big banks.

Both Democrats and Republicans questioned whether Geithner, who led the New York Federal Reserve Bank at the time, could have been in the dark over the decision not to disclose details of $62 billion AIG paid to banks to settle swaps contracts.

One Republican said he should resign.

Geithner held firm to his defense that he had withdrawn from decisions by the New York Fed after he was nominated to the Treasury post in late 2008. He forcefully defended his role in helping rescue American International Group Inc.

U.S. lawmakers force issue on Fed role in AIG bailout

By Glenn Somerville

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers moved on Tuesday to force release of documents that may show whether the New York Federal Reserve pressured insurer AIG to limit discussions about payments to banks when current Treasury Secretary Geithner led the New York Fed.

The Democrat who heads the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York, issued the subpoena to the New York Fed saying it “will provide the committee with documents that will shed light on how and why taxpayer dollars were used for a backdoor bailout.”

Congressional ire was fanned by the refusal of the inspector general for the government’s bailout fund, the Troubled Asset relief Program or TARP, to release material on AIG’s payments to banks because the Federal Reserve asked them not to make them available to the public.

U.S. lawmakers press for Geithner testimony on AIG payment information

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – U.S. lamakers on Friday pressed for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to testify on whether the New York Federal Reserve Bank improperly pressured AIG to withhold information on payments it made to banks after its government bailout.

The requests came even as the Obama administration and the New York Fed rushed to say that Geithner, who headed the reserve bank at the time of the AIG rescue, was unaware of any emailed advice by Fed lawyers to limit disclosures.

Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government reform committee, said he asked Geithner to testify on the matter the week of Jan. 18 at a hearing to examine emails between New York Fed and AIG lawyers that show AIG was advised to withhold “key details” of the bailout terms from the public.