Add Richard Kovacevich to the list of Minnesota bankers who are mad as hell about the government’s financial crisis response.
The Wells Fargo chairman blasted the Obama administration’s retroactive changes to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and called its plan to stress-test banks “asinine,” Bloomberg reports.
Kovacevich said in a speech that when the nation’s largest banks were forced to take TARP funds in October, it sent a signal that the whole industry was weak. If Wells Fargo weren’t forced to take the TARP money, it could have been raising private capital at that time, he said.
(At that point, didn’t we already have plenty of signals the industry was weak? And given the country’s mood last fall, where was Wells Fargo planning to raise all this private capital?, asks the Business Insider blog.)
In a comment that earned him a cartoon in the New York Post, the chairman also suggested the retroactive conditions on TARP funds, including limits on pay and perks, are un-American:
“Is this America — when you do what your government asks you to do and then retroactively you also have additional conditions?”