Tim Geithner says he would have supported a US Federal Reserve loan to help Barclays buy Lehman Brothers on the weekend in September 2008 that ended with the largest bankruptcy in US history.
In his memoir of the financial crisis, Stress Test, to be published today, Mr Geithner, the former New York Fed president and Treasury secretary, reveals divisions among officials trying to save Lehman.
His book raises the tantalising possibility of Fed support that might have persuaded UK regulators to let Barclays go ahead with buying Lehman, thus avoiding its bankruptcy and changing the course of the financial crisis, although Mr Geithner says that was unlikely.
“In the end, I’m confident the Fed would have helped finance a deal with a willing buyer, and I think Hank [Paulson, then Treasury secretary] would have supported that, no matter what his people had told the press,” writes Mr Geithner.
“But Fed assistance would not have eliminated the risk to Barclays, much less the British requirement for a shareholder vote, and I don’t see how it would have changed the British position.”
Mr Geithner was known to be more willing to save Lehman than Mr Paulson or the then Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, but previous acc-ounts of the crisis have emphasised that public money was off the table.
“This was one of the few times during the crisis when there was any distance between Hank and me,” writes Mr Geith-ner. “There was even some dist-ance between Ben and me.”
In the end, Mr Geithner’s willingness to use public money was moot, because UK regulators opposed the Barclays deal and time ran out. Barclays was the last remaining bidder for Lehman after Bank of America decided to pursue Merrill Lynch instead.
Lehman was insolvent and, without a buyer, the Fed had no authority to lend, writes Mr Geithner. That echoes what Mr Bernanke has said about the Lehman weekend.
By and large, Stress Test does not rewrite the history of the financial crisis. Mr Geithner’s main theme is the wisdom of propping up the financial system rather than punishing bankers. He attacks the “Old Testament populism and moral hazard fundamentalism” of those who opposed bailouts for fear they would encourage future irresponsibility.
Among insider details, Mr Geithner writes that he was put forward for chief executive of Citigroup in Nov-ember 2007 but declined. The job went to Vikram Pandit. He recalls an awkward moment when John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, appeared not to know the name of his own chief risk officer; and recounts how his staff gave a snippet of false information to aides to Sheila Bair, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to see if it would leak to the press. “It quickly did,” he writes.
But Mr Geithner saves his harshest criticism for Congress during the effort for financial reform and in rows over the debt ceiling.
曾任美国财长的蒂姆?盖特纳(Tim Geithner)表示，在2008年9月份那个周末，他原本支持美联储(Fed)发放一笔贷款，帮助巴克莱银行(Barclays)收购雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)。那一天后来以出现了美国历史上最大规模的破产案收场。
盖特纳周一出版了关于金融危机的回忆录《压力测试》(Stress Test)。这位曾经的纽约联邦储备银行(New York Fed)行长及美国财政部长在书中披露了那些试图拯救雷曼的美国官员之间的分歧。
盖特纳还在书中披露了一些内幕细节，他写道2007年11月他曾被提名为花旗集团(Citigroup)首席执行官，不过这一提名被否决了，这一岗位后来被指派给潘伟迪(Vikram Pandit)。他还记得一些十分难堪的场面，比如美林首席执行官约翰?塞恩(John Thain)似乎不知道自己的首席风险官的名字；此外，盖特纳的员工层曾故意向美国联邦存款保险公司(Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)主席希拉?拜尔(Sheila Bair)的助手泄露过一段虚假信息，以考察这段信息是否会被泄露给媒体，“消息很快就被泄露出去了”。