July 12, 2024

Are Geithner’s Days Numbered? Banks And Investors Have Zero Confidence

First Impressions Hard To Reverse

The old saying in the recruiting business is that one is judged in the first 15 seconds of a job interview.  Irregardless of what happens for the rest of the interview, that first impression cannot be changed.  No doubt, Treasury Chief Geithner wishes that he could take back that first big interview on February 10 when he announced his Financial Stability Plan.  The plan was so lacking in details that one could only wonder why Mr Geithner did not postpone his grand announcement.   Investors on Wall Street rendered prompt judgment on Mr Geithner with the Dow plunging almost 400 points.

Forget The Learning Curve

A month later, Mr Geithner has still not come up with anything of substance to deal with a broken banking system, which by some estimates could cost upwards of $4 trillion dollars.  In fairness to Mr Geithner, he is tasked with solving a problem that only time and the free markets may ultimately cure.   There are no quick and easy answers to the banking and housing crisis, but we cannot afford the luxury of allowing Mr Geithner a multi month learning curve period.    Mr Geithner’s delay in coming up with a detailed plan after his disastrous first attempt may have destroyed his credibility to the point where it doesn’t really matter what he does for an encore.

Banks Burning Mad As Geithner Fiddles

“As Americans recover from the shock and disgust of this latest [AIG] revelation, they will justifiably ask who got us into this mess,” writes Henry Blodget. “The answer, in part, is the same man who has yet to come up with a coherent plan to get us out of it: Tim Geithner.”

Geithner told Bloomberg TV this weekend he will “move quickly to lay out a new financing program” to help banks deal with their toxic assets.

In other words, Geithner still hasn’t put the finishing touches on the “Financial Stability Plan” he announced in mid-February to rousing condemnation because it lacked detail. More to the point, Geithner still doesn’t have a coherent plan he’s willing to share a year after the Bear Stearns-JPMorgan shotgun wedding.

Similarly, Geithner & Co. have yet to unveil their new blueprint for regulating banks. But, again, it’s coming soon

Recipients Of Bailout Cash Stage Revolt

The original TARP bailout plan which was supposed to save the banking industry from collapse has turned into a disaster.  Many banks are saying that they were forced to take expensive TARP money that they did not need or want and now want to return the money – see Banks Push Back On Bailout Plan – Wells Fargo Calls Stress Test Asinine.   The Chairman of Wells Fargo voiced some remarkably blunt criticism of the TARP plan yesterday when he called the governments plan to “stress test” banks asinine.  Relations between the banks and Geithner’s Treasury seem frayed beyond repair at this point.

Effective Leadership Needed

Mr Geithner seems to command zero confidence or respect at this point – he should be replaced by someone who can get the job done.