The U.S. Treasury, under pressure to revive lending, is demanding monthly reports from the banks that received the most capital from the government's $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 others on Jan. 16 seeking figures on business and consumer loans. Treasury also wants details on purchases of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Kashkari will stay for a few months after President Obama's inauguration.
Obama's aides criticize outgoing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's approach to rescues as lacking transparency and not doing enough to get credit flowing though the economy. While Paulson has defended the cash injections as having averted a collapse of the financial system, Obama had to pledge changes before lawmakers approved the release of the second $350 billion.
"Banks are becoming the whipping boy for the Treasury's failed policies," said Joseph Mason, a Louisiana State University professor in Baton Rouge who previously worked at the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "They're going to continue to face this pressure."
Citigroup spokesman Michael Hanretta said the bank will meet all reporting requirements. Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said the bank extended $115 billion in new credit in the fourth quarter of last year and plans to "do whatever we're asked to do by Treasury."
Obama's advisers are considering options for dealing with troubled assets still clogging banks' balance sheets, according to people familiar with the matter.
The 18 other banks receiving the Treasury's monthly data request are: J.P. Morgan 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.