Geithner: Banks Won't Be Nationalized

New Treasury secretary committed to private ownership of finance industry

By Mike Allen
|  Friday, Jan 30, 2009  |  Updated 10:40 AM EDT
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Geithner: Banks Won't Be Nationalized

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Treasury Secretary Geithner said the Obama administration has no intention of nationalizing banks.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made it clear in remarks to reporters Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration does not plan to nationalize banks or wipe out the value of bank stocks.

“We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we’d like to do our best to preserve that system,” Geithner said in remarks carried by CNBC.

With stocks surging on reports of additional steps by the administration to help banks clear bad assets off their books, Geithner promised new measures soon “to get growth going, bring the economy back on track.”

“We’re looking at a range of options in that context, and we hope to be in a position in the next – relatively soon – to lay out what we believe is a viable program,” Geithner said.

Geithner also unveiled new measures to increase the transparency of the bank bailout program, as Congress has demanded and President Obama has promised. The Treasury Department announced “a new policy of posting investment contracts for future completed transactions to the Department’s website within five to 10 business days.”

“For contracts already completed, documents will be posted on a rolling basis, beginning today,” the announcement said. “Treasury will work in the coming weeks to make public all copies of existing investment agreements. Confidential and proprietary information will be redacted from the publicly posted documents at the request of the individual institutions.”

The contracts are posted here. http://www.treas.gov/initiatives/eesa/agreements/index.shtml

Geithner also met with outside experts charged with reviewing “efforts taken to date to improve transparency and accountability.”

Treasury said participants included Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office; Neil Barofsky, TARP Special Inspector General; and Congressional Oversight Panel members Elizabeth Warren, Damon Silvers, Richard Neiman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and former Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).

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