|By Rick Rothacker, The Charlotte Observer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"…We had to make sure they didn't drag down the system, even if it looked like we were rewarding the reckless," writes Geithner, who stepped down as Treasury Secretary in
The new memoir describes Geithner's efforts, along with former Treasury Secretary
All five bombs, including insurer AIG and mortgage giants
Despite populist anger over bank bailouts, Geithner says he resisted a push by "several" of Obama's advisers to fire
"I understood the impulse to chop off a banker's head and mount it on a stake," Geithner writes, "but while
Geithner said the government would have fired
Lewis, who had engineered troubled acquisitions of
During the crisis, federal officials also scrambled to rescue Charlotte-based
At one point, Geithner and other officials attempted to broker a merger between investment bank
"We even considered Fed assistance, but the financials looked uncertain, and the optics were awful," Geithner writes, referring to close government ties to both banks. Then-Treasury Secretary Paulson was a former Goldman Sachs executive, as was
After Bair backed a
Geithner also says he was worried that breaking up the Wachovia-Citi deal could undermine an already struggling
Geithner, however, acknowledged Bair may have felt she didn't have a choice in backing the Wells Fargo-Wachovia deal, saying Wells' privately financed
In her 2012 book, "Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From
"Wells was a much stronger, better-managed bank and could buy
Geithner's new book also gives his side of a dispute with Richmond Fed President
At a meeting of Fed leaders in
Lacker issued a statement after the minutes came out in
In his book, Geithner says he did not leak any plans, but had talked to bankers about how the market would receive any efforts to use the discount window to ease the financial crisis. Geithner said he would never disclose any action in advance, but that Lacker "was understandably irked" that he had heard first word about a possible plan from a bank CEO in his district.
Geithner contrasts his aggressive efforts to stabilize the financial system with Lacker's resistance to bank bailouts and his focus on containing inflation, one of the Fed's central mandates.
"I found the more hawkish obsessions with moral hazard and inflation during a credit crunch bizarre and frustrating," Geithner writes. "Recession seemed a more plausible threat than inflation."
A spokesman for Lacker says he has not read the book and has no comment.
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