Eight U.S. bank CEOs will appear before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday to defend their use of $176 billion they have received in bailout funds under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
The CEOs assert that they are lending money despite economic hardship, according to testimony prepared for the House committee.
"In late December, utilizing TARP capital, we authorized our line businesses to provide $36.5 billion in new lending initiatives and other new programs,” said Citigroup Inc. CEO Vikram Pandit in prepared remarks, according to Dow Jones. The programs are “expanding mortgages, personal loans and lines of credit for individuals, families and businesses and creating liquidity in the secondary markets."
Kenneth Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, says in prepared remarks that America deserves to know “"what return they are making on their investment, and when it will be paid back," according to Dow Jones. He added that Bank of America intends to pay back all TARP money as soon as possible.
The CEOs have come under fire for reportedly not doing enough to inject TARP funds into the economy while continuing to lavish top executives with huge bonuses and expensive travel perks.
President Barack Obama last week placed a $500,000 cap on executive pay to banks benefitting from TARP. That move was followed by a Senate vote that bans bonuses to top managers and businesses receiving bailout assistance.
The CEOs scheduled to testify on Wednesday are: Citigroup's Pandit, Lewis of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group Inc's Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase & Co's James Dimon, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Robert Kelly of Bank of New York Mellon Corp, Ronald Logue of State Street Corp and John Stumpf of Wells Fargo & Co.
All eight CEOs have said they will travel to Washington Wednesday using commercial transportation.