Feinberg may force banks to give money back to government


Many banks are no doubt wishing that pay czar Kenneth Feinberg (Kenneth Feinberg news) would quickly move to his new assignment as administrator of BP claims. He's been enough of a thorn in their sides to cause discomfort--but not enough of a merely caustic gadfly to be dismissed. His approach has been above reproach frankly.

His final act may well be consequential. He's looking at bonuses and pay for the year 2008, a year in which the federal government extended billions in bailout funds to big banks. According to FOXBusiness, Feinberg "doesn't like what he has found, and one person with knowledge of Feinberg's thinking says he is 'leaning' toward forcing at least some of the big banks that he reviewed to give back bonus money."

He has apparently made his recommendation to the Treasury Secretary and is waiting for a response. While "Feinberg's look-back mandate covers 419 recipients of TARP bailout funds, people close to him say bonuses shelled out by the Wall Street banks were his primary focus." My bet is that firms accede to his recommendations quickly, as long as specific executives are not asked for their bonuses back.

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