AIG Was Most Frequent User Of Commercial Paper Program -Fed

Date : 12/01/2010 @ 5:26PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Genworth Financial (GNW)
Quote : 3.18  0.01 (0.32%) @ 4:00PM

AIG Was Most Frequent User Of Commercial Paper Program -Fed

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American International Group Inc. (AIG) turned to a government program for short-term funding 90 times over 15 months, marking the bailed-out insurer as the most frequent user of the program, according to data released by the Federal Reserve.

AIG borrowed $60.2 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve's Commercial Paper Funding Facility beginning in late October 2008, when the program was created to help companies that had trouble obtaining short-term loans in the private market.

AIG's frequent use of the facility underlines its status as one of the biggest recipients of government bailout money in the financial crisis. The U.S. had pledged more than $140 billion toward helping AIG through various programs, including the Trouble Asset Relief Program. AIG laid out a plan earlier this year for paying back its government bailout.

The insurer's heaviest use of the facility was in the program's first three months of operation. AIG borrowed almost $15 billion before its first loans matured on Jan. 27, 2009.

Some later loans appeared to be to cover the maturing paper. All the loans have since been paid back, and the Fed stopped the program on Feb. 1 of this year. The Fed released information on the companies that tapped the facility on Wednesday.

The CPFF was created amid the depth of the financial crisis, when investors were so skeptical of companies and the collateral they offered that they were reluctant to give even one-week or one-day loans. Many companies have long relied on such short-term borrowing, called commercial paper, to fund day-to-day activities such as meeting payroll, paying rent or stocking inventory.

Without the short-term loans, some businesses found it increasingly difficult to operate, so the Fed's CPFF was created to fill the void -- albeit at higher rates of interest -- until investor confidence returned.

The most frequent users after AIG were France's BNP Paribas SA (BNPQY, BNP.FR), which used the facility 74 times, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS, RBS.LN), which tapped it 67 times.

Other U.S. insurers who used the facility include Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU), MetLife Inc. (MET), Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG), Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) and Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW).

Prudential borrowed a total of $2.46 billion over six occasions, with the last loan maturing in April 2009 . MetLife accessed the CPFF 10 times for $1.64 billion, and repaid its last loan in March 2009.

Hartford used the program nine times over its first three months, borrowing a total of $724.5 million. Lincoln borrowed $472.1 million from the CPFF across six occasions ending in Feb. 2009. Genworth accessed CPFF three times--all within the first two weeks of the program--and borrowed $202.4 million. All repaid the funds in 2009.

Most companies have since found more attractive rates by selling longer-term corporate bonds. But AIG was among the last to get help from private investors in the bond market. Its first successful foray into the market was Tuesday, when it sold $2 billion in new debt.

AIG hadn't re-entered the capital markets before because of the massive bailout it got from the U.S. The end of the CPFF in February forced AIG to drawn down its secured credit facility from the Fed. AIG announced a roadmap to repaying the rescue in late September.

-By Erik Holm, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2892;


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