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US banks get loan cushion

The top three US banks have agreed on the structure of a backup fund of at least $75 billion to stabilise credit markets.

Citing a person involved in the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Times said that Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase officials reached agreement late on Friday, approving a more simplified structure than had been proposed during the course of some two months of negotiations.

"We cleared all the big hurdles," the newspaper quoted its source as saying. "We agreed to a much simpler structure that we think can get done, rather than optimise it for everyone," the person added. Discussions began in early autumn when the US Treasury Department convened a meeting. Previous versions of a backup fund had been widely considered infeasible, spurring doubts about the prospect for a final plan, the Times said.

The proposed fund could begin operating by the end of the year, the newspaper reported, and the banks could start asking some 60 financial institutions to contribute to the fund in the next five to 10 days. Treasury Department officials declined to comment, the newspaper said.

Source: The NY Times
Date: 15.11.2007 [141]

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