Treasury keeps options open on asset purchases
The Treasury Department said on Saturday that its financial rescue plan could permit it to buy assets beyond those backed by mortgages and potentially buy them from foreign holders, reported Reuters.
A fact sheet issued by Treasury on legislative proposals it has before lawmakers said the intent was to buy residential and commercial mortgage-related assets, which may include mortgage-backed securities and whole loans, but added a significant proviso.
"The Secretary will have the discretion, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, to purchase other assets, as deemed necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets," the fact sheet said.
Troubled assets eligible for purchase should come from financial institutions with "significant operations" in the United States. But it said there could be an exemption to that condition by the Treasury secretary, in consultation with the Fed chairman, that broader eligibility is necessary to stabilize financial markets.
Treasury said it would try to set prices for assets it buys using market mechanisms where possible, adding that included the use of "reverse auctions," in which financial institutions would offer their assets for government purchase.