Every week since mid-November, the Treasury Department has been doling out cash to banks throughout the country as part of its program to bolster “healthy” banks. In the heady days of mid-November, it was billions more every week. Over the past few weeks, that tide has slowed considerably – you can get a real sense of this by scanning the very end of our timeline. The money has been increasingly going to smaller and fewer banks. Last Friday, a paltry $22.8 million went out to five banks (see below). Overall, more than 500 banks have gotten $198.41 billion through the program.
But this would seem to be the calm before the storm. The Treasury Department has indicated that insurance companies will be getting their share of bailout bucks, and given the size of some of the insurers lining up, it’s fair to say that might result in several billion more out the door. And of course, the “stress tests” regulators are performing are just a prelude to more bailouts for the nation’s biggest banks. Those are expected to finish up by the end of this month. And don’t forget Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: at the end of each quarter, they reveal their losses and the government fills the hole with taxpayer money. Fannie and Freddie will be releasing their first quarter results sometime in the next few weeks.
So, well, stay tuned.