French and German banks were among the greatest beneficiaries of the U.S. government’s $70 billion rescue of AIG, according to a report published by the Congressional Oversight Panel on Thursday.
The same report recommended that U.S. Treasury do a better job tracking where money used to shore up the financial system actually ends up. And the report suggested U.S. regulators do more to prepare for future financial crises given the globalization of financial markets.
“Even at this late date, it is difficult to assess the precise international impact of the TARP [Troubled Assets Relief Program] or other U.S. rescue programs because Treasury gathered very little data on how TARP funds flowed overseas,” according to the report by the panel. “As a result, neither students of the current crisis nor those dealing with future rescue efforts will have access to much of the information that would help them make well informed decisions.”
The panel recommended that the U.S. Treasury Department start to report more data about how TARP and other rescue funds flowed internationally and to document the impact that the U.S. rescue had overseas. Also the report noted that the internationalization of the financial system has eclipsed the ability of regulators to respond to the global crisis.
When it comes to the bailout of AIG, the report noted that banks in France and Germany were among the greatest beneficiaries of AIG’s rescue, but the U.S. government bore the entire $70 billion risk of the AIG capital injection program. The U.S. share of this single rescue exceeded the size of France’s entire $35 billion capital injection program and the bailout was nearly half the size of Germany’s $133 billion program.
The report did not identify specifically which French and German banks benefitted from the U.S. bailout of the insurance giant.
In its report, the panel also recommended that U.S. regulators engage in regular crisis planning as well as “war gaming” for the international financial system.