THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2009
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

Banks to Defend themselves Before Congress

Next Wednesday, Feb 11th, CEOs from the first eight banks to receive funding from the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will testify before congress to explain how they spent billions of taxpayers dollars in the bailout so far. These 8 banks are Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, State Street, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of New York Mellon. Check out the Reuters article here Only $350 billion of TARP’s $700 billion has been spent so far, and the Obama administration and Congress want to ensure that the banks are spending their bailout money wisely, before they give out the other $350 billion. Questions asked by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee are likely to revolve around issues such as executive pay, dividend payments and whether banks are using the money for consumer loans. All of these questions around financial responsibility and responsible lending sure beg the question of why banks are still financing dirty energy with hundreds of millions of dollars going to coal and oil projects every year. These projects aren’t safe investments in our future; they are clinging to out-dated and irresponsible energy infrastructure in this country. As the US economy continues to stumble, and government struggles end the crisis, shouldn’t we be looking to fix aspects of the economy that are broken – not just prop the system back up the way it was? What questions would you ask the CEO’s of 8 of the largest banks in the world if you had the opportunity?

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