The Maiden Lane Auctions have closed today with some o the largest banks in America winning parts of the Assets once owned by Bearn Sterns and AIG. The biggest winners of the day were Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), and Merril Lynch, the investment arm of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). The news was reported by Reuters today.
Citigroup’s purchases were worth $1.44 billion. The assets on sale were Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Centralized Debt Obligations. It is the sixth sale of toxic assets by from the Federal Reserve’s portfolio of the assets. The Fed holds about $47 billion of toxic assets from the 2008 financial crisis.
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Citigroup purchased the West Coast Funding I portfolio, while Merril Lynch picked up the Davis Square Funding IV CDO for $896 million. Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) won another CDO, the Davis Square Funding II, III and V.
The Maiden Lane Assets were acquired by the New York Federal Reserve in separate failures during the 2008 financial crisis. The Maiden Lane I package was acquired from Bearn Stearns, while the Maiden Lane III assets came from American International Group. Those on sale today were from AIG.
Yesterday, the New York Federal Reserve confirmed that the last of the loans taken to acquire the assets from AIG and Bearn Sterns had been paid off. The assets that were procured from AIG are still on the New York Fed’s book’s.
The bank said it would continue to sell the assets in line with market conditions and with the condition that the sales result in value for the taxpayers that own the assets. The original bailout of AIG cost the taxpayer $182 billion.
The toxic assets are currently valued at a huge discount owing to their unreliable nature. Their sale, after four years on the taxpayer’s book, represents another step in the United States path to getting past the 2008 financial crisis and the bailouts that needed to be performed in the wake of the disaster.
With economic recovery still performing poorly, and Europe’s crisis weighing heavy on the minds of investors, the sale of the assets represents a symbolic achievement as the world heads toward renewed crisis.
Shareholders in the banks will be wondering about the prospects of the assets bought today. Despite being purchased at excessively low values redeeming them for a profit may be difficult given the current economic situation.