Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo Chief Executives Among Those Defending Bailout Fund Use

Earlier this month, the chief executives of the eight biggest banks in the United States, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs addressed the House Financial Services Committee in an attempt to persuade US lawmakers that billions of dollars in bailout funds were used as intended-to increase consumer and business lending and improve balance sheets. The banking heads also admitted to certain mistakes and promised that compensation in the future would be commensurate with performance.

Under the Capital Purchase Program, the federal government gave the banks $125 billion in cash infusions in November. Bank of America and Citigroup also received $20 billion each in Treasury investments.

At the session, some of the bank executives gave testimony regarding activities performed since they received the government’s financial assistance. For example, Kenneth Lewis, Bank of America’s chief executive, says that during 2008’s fourth quarter, the bank committed to $115 billion in new loans.

Vikram Pandit, Citigroup’s chief executive, said his bank had provided $75 billion in new loans for the fourth quarter. He also said that Citigroup had used $36.5 billion to expand personal loans, mortgages, and credit lines for businesses, families, and individuals, as well as to create secondary market liquidity. He said Citigroup had cancelled an order for a $50 million jet.

While the executives were contrite, Committee Chairman Barney Frank criticized them for giving executives bonuses, in addition to salaries. Lawmakers also asked the banks’ executives to stop home foreclosures until the Obama Administration can executive a $50 billion plan on mortgage modifications and other assistance for borrowers that are experiencing problems.

John Stumpf, Wells Fargo’s chief executive, said that his bank could hold off on foreclosing on loans in which it is the investor or owner. Pandit said Citigroup could support a moratorium for borrowers that live on properties facing foreclosure. Lewis said Bank of America could place a moratorium on home foreclosure for two or three weeks.

Related Web Resources:
Foreclosures halt by Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo,, February 14, 2009
Fed Urges Banks to Put Bailout Funds Into Loans, Not Dividends,, February 24, 2009
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