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GAO TARP study suggests lessons for SBLF
WASHINGTON (10/7/10)--A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that takes a look at the U.S. Treasury Department’s execution of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), used to bailout banks, says there are lessons that the government can learn from the experience and apply to any similar, future programs. The GAO report noted that among the Treasury’s actions under its TARP authority was the establishment of the Capital Purchase Program (CPP) as “its primary initiative” to make capital investments in eligible banks. “If Treasury administers programs containing elements similar to those of CPP, such as the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), Treasury should apply lessons learned from the implementation of CPP and enhance procedural controls for addressing the risk of inconsistency in regulators' decisions on withdrawals,” the report noted specifically. The SBLF is the $30 billion fund authorized by the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act that provides low-cost capital to small and mid-sized banks as incentives to increase lending. One thing that the GAO recommends regulators take a look at as they build the framework for the SBLF is how to build in consistency with the way applicants are treated and how TARP repayment decisions were made. “Specifically, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the program office responsible for implementing SBLF to establish a process for collecting information from bank regulators on all applicants that withdraw from consideration in response to a regulator's recommendation, including the reasons behind the recommendation. "The program office should also evaluate the information to identify trends or patterns that may indicate whether similar applicants were treated inconsistently across different regulators and take action, if necessary, to help ensure a more consistent treatment,” the report said.
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