Thursday, April 02, 2009

TARP Repayment Is Lucy's Football

Last week:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said the largest U.S. bank wants to start repaying $45 billion of federal bailout money next month, after completing a government stress test, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

Lewis had previously said he hoped to pay back all of the money Bank of America took from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program as soon as later this year, without saying when repayment would begin.


Ken Lewis from Bank of America (BAC) doesn’t seem to be able to run away from last month’s promise to repay TARP funds fast enough.

In his latest media appearances, including an interview on CNBC, Lewis said that BofA would repay taxpayers for the $45 billion in TARP proceeds his bank received. Eventually. (Lewis also said he ”regrets” having taken that much, saying the bank took more than it needed, describing the total as ”his mistake.” From this vantage, seems like the government’s … but po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right?)

But he quickly added that the economy will have to rebound. And then several quarters will have to pass.