February 18, 2009

The top 20 US banks receiving government aid have continued to lend amid the recession and financial crisis, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

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In the first of a monthly series of bank lending surveys designed to increase transparency in the government’s financial stability programs, the Treasury said its findings showed that banks were doing what they were supposed to do with taxpayer dollars.

From October to December 2008, “lending levels largely held steady and would have likely been lower absent capital provided to banks through CPP,” the Capital Purchase Program, it said in a statement.

The CPP directly infuses capital into viable banks in a bid to stabilize the financial system and enable banks to continue to provide credit to businesses and consumers. Some 400 banks in 47 states have participated in the program since it began in October.

The 20 major banks hold about 90 percent of all banking deposits in the country, and include Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, the department said.

“In sum, loan activity was resilient in the face of the worst economic downturn in decades,” Treasury said.

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