Federal Dollars Should Benefit Citizens, Not Shareholders

According to January 18, 2009 New York Times, bankers see the federal TARP bailout money as a handout for the banks’ benefit. Just listen to John C. Hope III, the chairman of Whitney National Bank in New Orleans at the following URL:


He sees the $300 million in government money his bank received as an insurance policy for the bank, not as an incentive to help citizens in trouble. “Make more loans?” Mr. Hope said. “We’re not going to change our business model or our credit policies to accommodate the needs of the public sector as they see it to have us make more loans.”

For Mr. Hope, the Whitney National Bank chairman, “the main motivation for TARP” was to safeguard his bank against the “possibility things couldget a lot worse,” not for any public purpose. The Whitney, he says, would continue making loans “that we would have made with or without TARP.”

“We see TARP as an insurance policy,” he said. “That when all this stuff is finally over, no matter how bad it gets, we’re going to be one of the remaining banks.”

Feathering the nests of wealthy bankers was not Congress’s goal in shelling out the first $350 billion of our tax dollars. It was to encourage the banks to help citizens stay in their homes and keep their jobs.

It is easy to understand why Mr. Hope lacks empathy for ordinary citizens. His annual compensation is over $2.3 million. As CEO of a large financial institution, his first obligation is to ensure its health. However, he takes on civic responsibilities when his bank accepts a huge grant of federal funds. He is obligated to use those funds for the public good. Drop Mr. Hope a line and tell him you hope he sees the light. His office address is:

Whitney National Bank
228 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 586-7272

He is also listed at:

1832 Palmer Ave
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
(504) 862-5772

After you drop the misnamed Mr. Hope a line, contact your Congressional delegation and the President. Let them know that you want federal funds to be used to help people in trouble, not to insure institutions that are doing well already.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2009 John B. Payne, Attorney

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