Taxpayers Will Pay Price For The Bear Stearns Bailout

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Late Thursday afternoon, long after the markets had closed and many on Wall Street had long since evacuated for the long weekend, the Federal Reserve revealed its estimates for the value the Bear Stearns assets it accepted as collateral for the $28.9 billion loan JP Morgan Chase used to buy the firm and prevent its bankruptcy. That collateral was worth just $28.8 billion, according to the Fed.
What this means is that the decline in the collateral value has already eaten through a good chunk of the $1.15 billion of exposure JP Morgan agreed to take as part of the deal. The collateral has already declined by 3.7% in a couple of months. Much of the collateral consists of mortgage linked securities, so unless that market turns around sharply, it seems likely that taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for Bear Stearns collapse.
Indeed, The New York Post reported this morning that a hedge fund investor in JP Morgan is predicting further declines in the collateral values. Taxpayers are on the hook for any decline past the $1.5 billion hit JP Morgan agreed to take. The Fed is being criticized for not revealing more about the assets that make up the collateral. JP Morgan says it is bound by a confidentiality agreement not to comment.

Hedge Fund Report: Bear Buyout Could Cost Taxpayers
[New York Post]

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