Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Treasury abandons plans for reverse auction to purchase troubled assets

The Treasury announced today what had already become clear, which is that it has abandoned the initial plan to purchase troubled assets, in favor of buying equity in troubled companies: Remarks by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on Financial Rescue Package and Economic Update

"As credit markets froze in mid-September, the Administration asked Congress for broad tools and flexibility to rescue the financial system. We asked for $700 billion to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. At the time, we believed that would be the most effective means of getting credit flowing again.
During the two weeks that Congress considered the legislation, market conditions worsened considerably. It was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled assets – our initial focus – would take time to implement and would not be sufficient given the severity of the problem. In consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of equity in banks. "

HT to Eric Budish (a market designer on the market)

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