The Troubled Asset Relief Program inspector general said that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve should stop using the London interbank offered rate as a measure for offering interest rates in U.S. bailout programs, Bloomberg Businessweek reported Sept. 25.
Libor has been considered suspect ever since Barclays admitted that it submitted false rates in June, thus calling into question its overall reliability. Libor has been the benchmark interest rate for more than $500 trillion in securities.
Regulators in both the United Kingdom and the U.S. fined Barclays $471 million for its submission of false rates, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
TARP IG Christy Romero told Bloomberg Businessweek that U.S. programs could not use a rate “in which there’s no confidence or assurance that it’s reliable” and also noted that Libor has been subject to manipulation. She said Treasury’s Public-Private Investment Program and the Fed’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility needed to use alternate interest rates.
The Treasury launched PPIP in 2009 in an effort to revive the mortgage-backed securities market, and it estimated that U.S. taxpayers will get a $3 billion profit from the program.
TALF, which the Fed started in March 2009, is a bailout program that loaned funds to highly rated asset-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
TARP was a Bush administration program launched in 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis and was continued under the Obama administration. It helped bail out Citigroup and Bank of America, as well as automakers General Motors and Chrysler Group.