Despite recovery, bank lending still falling

Not doing their part?

The final scene in the movie “Too Big to Fail” shows Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (played by Paul Giamatti) talking with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (portrayed by William Hurt).

The scene takes place in September 2008 after the two men had just arm-twisted some of the nation’s biggest banks into taking $125 billion in government bailout money as part of a last-ditch plan to stop a financial meltdown.

Part of the deal was that the banks would reopen their lending windows, easing a credit crunch that threatened to worsen an already frightening economic slowdown.

Bernanke asks, somewhat plaintively, whether the banks will hold up their end of the bargain and use the money to make loans to businesses and consumers.

“Of course they will,” Paulson responds.

Even if the conversation didn’t really happen that way, many in and out of government supported the bailout on grounds it would boost lending by banks.

But it didn’t, and it still hasn’t.

Read the full story and use the “bank tracker” to check your bank here.

 

2012-08-24T02:27:17+00:00

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