Many banks are fearing "The Geithner Treatment" where executivese are fired, pay structures are government mandated, business plans are changed by the government, and they are prevented from paying taxpayer money back because the government wants to maintain a stranglehold on their operations:
I would say that some banks would rather go under than submit to the kind of government interference that Geithner has in mind. This smaller bank chief has had it:
Facing a host of government restrictions - from how much they pay executives to how many foreign citizens they employ - some small banks have returned the bailout money, and some larger ones, including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Northern Trust, have said they want to do so as quickly as possible. On Friday, Sun Bancorp of Vineland, N.J., became the sixth bank to exit the program, returning $89.3 million just three months after it received its loan.
Regulators are reluctant to approve the early repayments until banks can show that they have the capital to withstand further erosion in the economy and will not curtail their lending.
Both large and small banks have pressed the Obama administration to make it less costly for them to exit the bailout program by waiving the right to exercise stock warrants the banks had to grant the government in exchange for the loans. At a meeting last month, the chiefs of three of the largest banks separately asked Mr. Obama to direct the Treasury not to exercise the warrants, Mr. Fine said.
Once again, it appears the Obama Administration is using the financial crisis not to solve it but to put a huge crimp in the free market. By God, they are going to control the banks or the banks will be out of business. That seems to be the message they are sending, anyway.
Douglas Leech, the founder and chief executive of Centra Bank, a small West Virginia bank that participated in the capital assistance program but returned the money after the government imposed new conditions, said he complained strongly about the Treasury Department's decision to demand repayment of the warrants. That effectively raised the interest rate he paid on a $15 million loan to an annual rate of about 60 percent, he said.
"What they did is wrong and fundamentally un-American," he said. "Even though the government told us to take this money to increase our lending, the extra charge meant we had less money to lend. It was the equivalent of a penalty for early withdrawal."