Monday, September 8, 2008

The Creeping Roll Of Government In The Financial Sector

The nationalisation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by the Treasury is not the only control step taken by the government this week.

Washington Mutual announced that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Thrift Supervision concerning aspects of the bank's operations, principally in several areas of its risk management and compliance functions, including its Bank Secrecy Act compliance program. In addition, WaMu has committed to provide the OTS an updated, multi-year business plan and forecast for its earnings, asset quality, capital and business segment performance.

Committed to providing a multi-year business plan? It's questionable that for moral hazard reasons the government should be involved in backing up any of these institutions at all, but it is far beyond the pale for them to become involved in the oversight of the operations of these organizations.

Assuming you buy that the government should bail these institutions out, and we don't, a bailout is a far cry from requiring them to submit business plans. What is this all about?

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