Yesterday I said that Tim Geithner or Sheila Bair should come out and slap down the idea that banks will be allowed to bid on their own assets. And today she did! Rolfe Winkler, in a guest post at naked capitalism, did the hard work transcribing the audio of the press conference.
Although banks cannot buy their own assets, Bair did say, “I think there have been separate issues about whether banks can be buyers on other bank assets and I think that’s an issue that we continue to look at.” As I said yesterday, and as Winkler also said, I think this is also a bad idea. Even if you successfully deter outright collusion, you can still have outcomes where the industry as a whole is using subsidies to overpay for its own assets and shift the loss onto the government.
And no, I don’t actually think that Sheila Bair reads this blog, much less listens to what I have to say.
By James Kwak