The TARP Bank Execs Keep Flying High

private jetI think that the following pretty much tells us why the banking industry found itself in so much trouble. The guys that run the banks are terminally stupid.

The WSJ is out with a report on the use of company owned aircraft for personal use by TARP recipient banks.

Some executives at banks propped up by government aid have retained a coveted perk: personal use of the company jet.

Flight records show numerous occasions when banks receiving federal money have flown their planes to destinations near resorts or executives’ vacation homes, including spots in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, south Florida and Aspen, Colo. In some cases, it’s clear that bank executives were traveling for personal reasons; for other flights, many of which were over weekends or holidays, the passengers and purpose couldn’t be established.

Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala., received $3.5 billion from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, on Nov. 14. Twelve days later, the day before Thanksgiving, two Regions jets left Birmingham within minutes of each other, bound for a small airport in West Virginia.

The destination: the historic Greenbrier resort, where the bank’s chief executive, C. Dowd Ritter, and family members spent four nights over the holiday, according to a person familiar with his accommodations.

The round-trip flights cost Regions roughly $17,700, according to a calculation by Conklin & de Decker Aviation Information, a consulting firm. A Regions spokesman declined to comment on the trip or the cost estimate but said all travel on company jets “either for personal or business was within our policy.”

The Wall Street Journal identified 14 federally aided banks that register planes under their own names. It reviewed Federal Aviation Administration flight records for these planes from October, when the bank aid program began, through mid-March, the latest information the Journal was able to examine.

The article goes on to name a number of the usual suspects. Citi, Morgan Stanley, PNC and Bank of America all get caught in the spotlight.

Don’t these guys understand public relations? After being dragged through the mud over bonuses do they really think that private jet trips to high end resorts won’t roil the mob? Couldn’t they have stayed home for Christmas or at least hopped in the Mercedes and taken a road trip?

Remember the kid you taped the “Kick Me” sign to in grade school and he never caught onto the gig? Well guess what he grew up to be.

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About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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