Last Loans Used to Buy AIG, Bear Stearns Assets Repaid: Fed Reserve

By and | June 15, 2012

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Thursday the last of its loans made to acquire risky assets from AIG and Bear Stearns during the financial crisis have been paid off with interest.

The Fed bank acquired the assets in the portfolio known as Maiden Lane III in the 2008 government rescue of U.S. insurer American International Group Inc. It acquired the Maiden Lane I assets from Bear Stearns around the time of its takeover. The original loans totaled just over $53 billion.

The New York Fed will continue to sell assets remaining in the Maiden Lane I and III portfolios “as market conditions warrant and if the sales represent good value for the public,” it said, adding there is no fixed time frame for the sales.

Proceeds from Maiden Lane I sales will be used to retire a loan from JPMorgan Chase & Co., after which the Fed bank logs the profits.

Proceeds from Maiden Lane III sales will be used to repay AIG’s equity contribution, after which the New York Fed will receive two-thirds of residual profits. As of June 6, the outstanding principal and interest due to AIG was about $5.6 billion.

“We are extremely encouraged by the continued progress our partners at the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury have made to profitably reduce the U.S. government’s investments in AIG,” AIG Chief Executive Bob Benmosche said in a statement.

The repayment of the Maiden Lane III loan in particular is the latest unexpected twist in the AIG saga, which began with a last-minute rescue in Sept. 2008.

Part of the ultimate rescue package was the Nov. 2008 creation of Maiden Lane III, a facility that eased some of AIG’s obligations by buying collateralized debt obligations from the company’s counterparties. The Fed put up $24.3 billion and AIG put in another $5 billion.

In exchange for being bought out at 100 cents on the dollar, the counterparties agreed to terminate credit default swaps with AIG’s Financial Products unit.

Many people criticized it as a back-door bailout of the banks with which AIG did business, but the deal was also seen as crucial to buying the company more time for a planned fire sale of its assets.

That fire sale never came to pass, though. Starting in late 2009 AIG embarked on a different course, shedding some assets while strengthening others.

AIG will profit on the rest of the MLIII sales because of the way the deal was originally structured. After all the loans from both parties are repaid, the Fed and AIG split any proceeds, with the company getting one-third of the money.

With the Maiden Lane facilities resolved, the balance of AIG’s obligation to the government is the U.S. Treasury’s 61 percent stake in the company.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Carol Bishopric and Dan Grebler)

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