Bailout tracker: What's going, what's coming

The government has gotten back hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout loans, but it still has more than $2 trillion to wind down.

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By David Goldman, staff writer

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NEW YORK ( -- As government regulators switch from crisis-mode to rescue mode, many of the biggest and most successful bailout programs are well on their way to extinction. But there are plenty of others that are gaining momentum as the economy heads toward a recovery.

On Monday, the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse and the beginning of the bailout era, President Obama will talk about the administration's plan to wind down the government's involvement in the financial sector, in a midday speech on Wall Street.

The bailout wind-up has nearly cancelled out the wind-down, and the government still has about $2.2 trillion of loans to reclaim.

"These programs were crutches helping banks and institutions get through this crisis," said Lawrence Kaplan, former special counsel at the Office of Thrift Services and counsel in the banking and financial institutions practice at Paul Hastings. "There are some whose bones have healed, but not everyone's has. The world isn't repaired yet."

The Fed, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department have insisted that their rescue initiatives will have to be rolled back or terminated as the recovery gains traction.

"Some of these programs still have a long way to go, but others were on an as-needed basis, and we're finding that we don't need them as much anymore," said Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners. "But if the government just announced that all these programs ended overnight, the markets would panic."

The timing will be crucial: Pull the rug out from under banks and companies too quickly, and the government could undo much of the stability that the bailouts helped create. Let them linger too long, and massive inflation could take hold.

"The emerging confidence and stability of September 2009 is a far cry form the crippling fear and panic of September 2008," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told a Congressional Oversight Panel on Thursday. "It is clear that we have stepped back from the brink and that, as the president recently said, we are pointed in the right direction."

Here's a look at where some of the key programs stand:

The wind-down

Corporate debt purchases: Demand for commercial paper -- short-term debt that companies issue to finance day-to-day expenses -- came to a screeching halt during the credit crisis. That prompted the Fed to start buying up three-month debt, which helped calm the market. Many businesses were ultimately able to find open market buyers after the first round of debt expired in January. Peaked on Jan. 22 at $350.5 billion. Now at $47.7 billion.

Money market rescue. "Safe as cash" money market funds started quickly losing money after Lehman Brothers' collapse in mid-September 2008. When investors started a run on the money markets, the Fed immediately moved to lend to the funds and to the banks that lend to money markets. That stabilized most of the funds within a month, and the program has now been almost completely wound down. Peaked on Oct. 2: $152.1 billion. Now: $79 million.

Discount window for investment banks. The long-time lending facility for commercial banks was opened up to investment banks for the first time in March 2008 in an effort to stave off another Bear Stearns-like collapse. The program soared in the weeks following Lehman's bankruptcy, but ended in May after investment banks were able to find funding in the open markets. Peaked on Oct. 2: $146.6 billion. Now: $0.

Term Auction Facility. TAF began in December 2007 and was the first "bailout" program from the Fed. The government lent set amounts of short-term money through auctions to commercial banks in exchange for hard-to-sell assets like mortgage-backed securities as collateral. The Fed ramped up the effort during the height of the credit crisis, but has since scaled it back as banks have been able to secure funds from one another. Peaked on Nov. 13: $415.3 billion. Now: $212.1 billion.

TARP. Banks started paying back Treasury's capital investments en masse in June, though many experts said it is less a sign of banks' health and more about the negative stigma associated with a government bailout. Peaked on June 16: $436 billion. Now: $372.5 billion.

The wind-up

Fannie and Freddie. The government placed the mortgage finance giants under conservatorship a year ago, sending them $85 billion to stay afloat. But the firms are far from standing on their own two feet again -- and the housing market has yet to show signs of a strong recovery. As a result, the Fed continues to buy up debt and mortgage-backed securities from Fannie (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie (FRE, Fortune 500) in an attempt to keep mortgage rates low. $806.3 billion of a possible $1.9 trillion.

Making Home Affordable. Treasury's foreclosure prevention program has helped just 12% of of the four million eligible borrowers modify their loans. The administration is pushing servicers to do more after a rocky start prompted numerous complaints. $22.1 billion of a possible $75 billion.

Stimulus. The Recovery Act is the largest federal spending bill ever, but most of that spending will come in 2010. The majority of the upfront payouts came in the form of tax relief and Medicare aid to states. Later this year and into next year, the infrastructure projects will really kick into high gear. $151.4 billion of a possible $787.2 billion.

TALF. With lending to consumers and small businesses still stagnant, the government offered to provide up to $1 trillion in financing to private investors to buy up securities backed by consumer and small business loans. Buyers aren't exactly breaking down the door yet, but the Fed extended the program and hopes to attract more support. $36.3 billion of a possible $1 trillion.  To top of page

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