Following the news that Goldman Sachs (GS) wants to repay TARP next month, Bank of America (BAC) CEO Ken Lewis tells the LA Times that his bank will start the repayment process next month, as well.
The embattled CEO says the repayments will begin as soon as the government does its stress test. Just last week he was talking about repaying the TARP at the end of the year or in 2010, so it sounds like this would accelerate the plan, a little.
What’s clear is that there’s a massive disconnect between bank CEO rhetoric about the health of their institutions and outside assessments of how honest they’re actually being. As noted in the recent Goldman report we linked to, banks are still valuing toxic assets deliriously high, despite claims that mark-to-market has forced them to take overly-large writedowns.
And yet Lewis seems to have no concern, at least publicly, that his bank might fail a stress test, or get exposed as insolvent once the bids come in.
Meanwhile, we can assume that paying back TARP in April is the new way to indicate health. Has your CEO publicly stated when he’ll start paying it back?