Thursday, January 7, 2010

NY Fed Told AIG to Limit Details of Bank Payments

Apparently AIG's creditors, apart from banks, were small enough to let them fail, and keep the deals secret.

JANUARY 7, 2010
NY Fed Told AIG to Limit Details of Bank Payments

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York told American International Group to withhold details from the public about more than $62 billion the insurer paid to banks at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, according to emails disclosed on Thursday by congressman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.).

AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that it paid banks including Goldman Sachs Group and Société Genéralé 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the insurer's derivatives unit AIG Financial Products.

The swaps were sold as protection against defaults on complex mortgage-related vehicles known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. As the housing meltdown grew into a full-blown financial crisis, AIG was forced to post billions of dollars in collateral on these contracts, pushing it to the brink of collapse.

The insurer was saved by the federal government, which committed more than $100 billion in taxpayer money to the bailout. A lot of that money was quickly transferred to major banks that were counterparties on the CDO-linked derivatives.

The bailout has been among the most controversial of the financial crisis because the banks were paid 100 cents on the dollar during a period when many similar obligations were being settled at large discounts...