Carping about TARP

Thursday - 5/7/2009, 7:20am EDT

WFED's Max Cacas

One N.J. lawmaker says enough is enough.

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By Max Cacas

Ever since the TARP program was developed last year to help rescue banks and other financial institutions hit hard by the mortgage crisis and the economic downturn in general, there have seemingly been countless complaints that somehow, the program isn't working the way it should.

New Jersey Congressman Bob Andrews says enough is enough.

I have encountered dozens of constituents in the last three to four months who have told me stories about trying to get bank financing for successful businesses who have been unable to do so.

Andrews described the situation for a successful car dealer back in his First District, surrounding Camden, N.J., and just across the river from Philadelphia.

He says the dealer's owner decided business was so good, it was time to remodel and expand the physical plant.

One thing: the dealer was unable to obtain a loan from one of the TARP banks in the area, despite having excellent credit and having been part of the community for decades.

In a briefing with reporters, Andrews told the story of other private individuals and business people from his district who tell the same story of being denied a loan by TARP banks, at a time when he says they are supposed to be making such loans to energize the economy.

Andrews now says he has opened a page on his congressional website, in which citizens can write to inform him when a TARP bank has denied someone a loan, either personal or business.

The New Jersey Democrat says he intends to compile the complaints of his constituents, or any one else for that matter, who has been denied such funding. Andrews says that sometime in June, the TARP inspector general is expected to release a report based on the responses of all 364 banks that took federal money to determine the bank's compliance with the guidelines for taking the bailout money.

Andrews says that if the TARP inspector general's report shows the TARP banks sitting on the cash, and not making loans to significant numbers of people, he is prepared to press for either new legislation, or amendments to the present TARP law, to toughen enforcement of the banks requirements to make loans and get the economy going.

The New Jersey Democrat says that so far, he has refrained from intervening personally on behalf of his constituents who have complained, fearing that public involvement on his part could prompt the banks in question to deny loans all together to those who filed a complaint.

On the Web:
Rep. Bob Andrews (D.-NJ) -

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