Banks Behaving Badly – Advice for TARP Takers

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TARP Money Recipients

Banks Behaving Badly – Advice for TARP Takers

The media has found a new villain during the current economic crisis and they’re becoming the poster children for the economic meltdown. Is the the mortgage defaulter? No. Maybe the Finance Ways & Means Committee. No. The Banking CEO’s – Most definitely! Hey Citi, Band of America, Northern Trust….you out there? You listening?

While I’m not here to judge, I am here to convey a message. Whether it’s true or not, perception always outweighs reality, and there is a perception out there that Wall Street is to blame.

And the media knows, say it enough times and people will believe it (they probably learned it from government officials).

The Troubled Asset Relief Program a.k.a. TARP, a program funded by the US government as a tool for the US Treasury to stabilize banking assets (CDO’s etc), those who needed the funds need to understand that there are a lot of angry taxpayers out there that want some level of accountability to the terms tied to taking funds from the program.

Take a look on the nightly news and know one thing….they’re out to find ANYTHING that pins your bad bank behavior to this crisis. God only knows the federal government really appreciates it every time your caught on the tube.

If you took the TARP money, a few tips:

  • Lay off the Leer jet purchases
  • Stop with the crazy ritzy conferences in Naples, West Palm, and Beverly Hills
  • Stop naming stadiums after your self
  • If you took TARP money, put up a website that clearly states what’s happening with it.
  • Tell the board that CEO to avg. salary ratio needs to come down. If it’s higher than 50:1 go for a reality check.
  • Option bonuses for payouts above $250,000 doesn’t fix the problem either (especially when they’re issued at a discount from the institutions treasury). Not like any exec wants them now anyway.
  • The government and media are looking for corporate scapegoats….so get your head down and get to business.
  • Work in some good faith – stabilize your own workforce. Maybe you can set some assurances to your employee base. It’s not like you’re going to let everyone go. Draw up some contracts with them for two years so they can feel confident enough to start spending again.
  • Congress is pissed – they’re junkets are being watched, their freebies are scrutinized- but now it’s your turn.
  • Pay your taxes! It’ll give you leverage when you’re dragged in front of congress.
  • Be responsible. And stay off the TV, especially TMZ.
  • If you still don’t understand….ask your mother! Hopefully she’ll be able to help you differentiate right from wrong.

And if you didn’t take TARP money, everything above still applies.

As of today, New Jersey accounted for 16 of the 444 banks and $630 million of over $302 billion.

NJ Banks taking TARP money (in Millions)

1st Constitution Bancorp    $12
Center Bancorp            $10
Central Jersey Bancorp        $11.30
Community Partners Bancorp    $9
Hilltop Community Bancorp    $4
Lakeland Bancorp        $59
OceanFirst Financial Corp    $38.30
Parke Bancorp            $16.30
Pascack Community Bank        $3.80
Peapack-Gladstone Financial    $28.70
Somerset Hills Bancorp        $7.40
Stewardship Financial Corp    $10
Sun Bancorp            $89.30
Unity Bancorp            $20.60
Valley National            $330

Please bring back some credibility to the industry I know and once loved. It’s really been embarrassing reading all this in the papers.

For additional information visit http://www.propublica.org/special/show-me-the-tarp-money


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