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I'm sure there is someone less deserving of Treasury assistance than the likes of MBIA. There are, after all, still some felons out there that could use a couple extra million. Still, since everyone else is slurping at the bailout well, might as well throw in insurers. Right?

MBIA, the largest U.S. bond insurer, and its No. 2 rival, Ambac Financial Group, met with regulators earlier this week to push for a way to tap into the federal government's bailout plan.
New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo, the main regulator for MBIA, and Wisconsin insurance commissioner Sean Dilweg, Ambac's primary regulator, convened in New York to discuss the matter with the firms.
Both companies have seen business grind to a near halt after large losses on mortgage debt guarantees, and subsequent rating cuts.

Watch out MBIA shorts.
U.S. Treasury mulls insurer aid program-sources [Reuters]


TARP Charts!

The Federal Reserve has this new paper out about TARP that does a bit of highly suggestive eyebrow raising about some banks that shall remain nameless. They start from the awkward fact that TARP wanted everything in one bag but didn't want the bag to be heavy, or as they put it: The conflicted nature of the TARP objectives reflects the tension between different approaches to the financial crisis. While recapitalization was directed at returning banks to a position of financial stability, these banks were also expected to provide macro-stabilization by converting their new cash into risky loans. TARP was a use of public tax-payer funds and some public opinion argued that the funds should be used to make loans, so that the benefit of the funds would be passed through directly to consumers and businesses. So you might reasonably ask: were TARP funds locked in the vault to return the recipient banks to financial health, or blown on loans to risky ventures, or other? Well, here is Figure 1 (aggregate commercial and industrial loans from commercial banks in the U.S.): So ... not loaned then. But that's not important! The authors are actually looking not primarily at aggregate amounts of loans but at riskiness of loans and here's what they get: