Northern Trust Will Return TARP Money

A few weeks ago, Northern Trust came under fire for sponsoring a golf tournament (The Northern Trust Open, formerly the LA Open) while at the same time having taken TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money from the government.

Now, Northern Trust is giving the money back.

Good for them!

Northern Trust is one of several banks that didn’t need the TARP money, but was “forced” to do so by the Bush Administration. The idea was that with the TARP money, Northern Trust and other healthy institutions would purchase bad banks and restore the system to health.

There were no restrictions on what the banks could do with the money—unlike the ridiculous restrictions on the auto industry—and Northern Trust apparently has used the TARP money to do what it was supposed to. But America’s number one hypocrite, Barney Frank, saw an opportunity to make political points by going after Northern Trust.

Northern Trust Chief Executive Frederick Waddel wrote in a letter:

We understand this is a time of great anxiety and financial distress, and your question regarding our support of an event such as the Northern Trust Open is legitimate. We deeply regret that some of the events associated with the Northern Trust Open have distracted from the positive nature of an event that has raised more than $50 million for charity since its inception.”

“While our client educational and entertainment activities have all been within applicable guidelines under the Capital Purchase Program, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that these activities are appropriate given the current environment.”

Frank is a real piece of work. If Americans are looking for a scapegoat for the financial crisis, they need look no further than the moronic Congressman from Boston. From the Boston Herald:

Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

Frank ran interference for these institutions, blocking Bush administration efforts that would have spared us the current pain, all the while benefiting from large donations from those institutions, and Countrywide.

Northern Trust did the right thing. The sad part is that they were forced into that position in the first place.

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