A number of financial experts now fear that the federal government’s $143 billion attempt to rescue troubled insurance giant American International Group may not work, and some argue that company shareholders and taxpayers would have been better served by a bankruptcy filing.
The deal that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York pressed upon AIG was intended to stop any domino effect of financial institutions falling because of their business ties to AIG. The rescue allowed AIG to provide cash to huge banks and other players who had invested in rapidly souring mortgages insured by the company.
Early this year, investors had begun privately demanding that AIG pay off its billion-dollar guarantees. But in mid-September, when the demands for cash reached a public crescendo, AIG had to admit that it didn’t have enough cash on hand to meet the obligations.
In the first weeks of its federal rescue, AIG has used the loan money to post collateral demanded by these firms, sources close to those deals say.
“No one else benefits,” former AIG chief executive and major shareholder Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg wrote to AIG’s current chief executive on Thursday. “Unless there is immediate change to the structure of the Federal loan, the American taxpayer will likely suffer a significant financial loss.”