We keep you up to date on how many taxpayer billions have gone out to the nation's banks (and insurance, credit card and auto companies) via the $700 billion TARP. But the Wall Street Journal ran the numbers on a separate federal bailout program, this one run by the FDIC, and found it will save eight big U.S. banks "about $24 billion in borrowing costs during the next three years."
Of course, the program was launched to save banks billions -- or put another way, it was designed to make their debt affordable. Banks under the program (called the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program) issue debt guaranteed by the FDIC. Since the debt has government backing, the interest rate is lower than the market rate. And at the height of the financial crisis late last year, market rates were remarkably high. The Journal's analysis focused on the eight biggest participants in the program and is based on the difference between the FDIC-backed rate and the going market rate at the time the banks issued debt under the program.
As we reported last month, one company that has benefited from this program is General Electric. The Journal calculates that its savings "likely will reach $3.3 billion," a total GE disputed. (A spokeswoman said it was "something much less," but evidently didn't provide an estimate.)
Other bailout links this morning:
Fed Trims Program for Loans to Banks (WSJ)
Loans by U.S. Banks Shrink (WSJ)
A Cliffhanger to See if a G.M. Turnaround Succeeds (NYT)
Citi Trader Presses for $100 Million Pay Package in 2009 (WSJ)
When Debtors Decide to Default (NYT)
Small Biz Loans May Cost Gov't Billions (AP)
Fund to Let the Public Buy Assets in Distress (WSJ)