We can all remember the credit crisis back in late 2008 and President Bush's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Most people assumed this huge bailout program was primarily for the big Wall Street banks, but hundreds of small community banks received TARP money as well. While almost all of the big banks have paid back their TARP loans, over 600 small banks have not been able to do so.
A new congressional study this month reveals that these 641 mostly community banks don't have the capital to repay their TARP loans, and indicates that the government will not bail them out again. According to the new report, these banks that can't repay their TARP loans will have to be merged with larger banks or go out of business.
This dilemma reminds us that small and regional banks are overloaded with commercial real estate loans, many of which are past due on their payments, and the properties that collateralize these loans have significantly declined in value during the recession. While I have written about the commercial real estate debacle earlier this year, it is time to revisit this topic in light of the problems facing many small banks around the country.
Last but not least, I will announce our upcoming Internet webinar with Hg Capital on August 4 at 1:00 PM Eastern time (10:00 Pacific time). Hg's founders will discuss in detail their Long/Short Government Bond program that knocked the lights out in 2009. This is a great opportunity to learn how to take advantage of the bond market, what with interest rates at the lowest point in the last 50 years. Be sure to sign up for this Internet event that is free of charge and you can listen and watch on your computer wherever you are.