The Senate Banking Committee took a Treasury Department official to task for committing $250 billion of the $700 bailout money to buy stakes in banks without getting any guarantees that those firms wouldn’t pocket the cash or use it for acquisitions.
“I remain especially concerned that, in the Treasury’s zeal to make the capital injection program easily digestible for the banks, we’re feeding them a little too much dessert and not making them eat enough of their vegetables,” says New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer had welcomed the Treasury’s decision earlier this month to shift the focus from buying troubled assets to directly injecting capital in troubled firms, but like many of his colleagues thought there should have been more strings attached.
The senators were particularly distressed over news reports that several of the banks that took the government’s money said they were in no hurry to lend it out. If banks hoard the cash, that doesn’t provide an immediate lift to the economy.