"We will have the opportunity to redeploy that (bailout funds)," John Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, told The New York Times. "But at least for the next quarter, it's just going to be a cushion," he said.
Other bankers privately made similar remarks, the Times reported Friday.
The Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said that lending was a positive step for the economy and for banks.
"There is no express statutory requirement that says you must make this amount of loans," Dugan said. "But the economics work so that it is in their interest to do so."
Dugan also said he would not planning to track how the bailout money was used. The banks' behavior would be "open to the court of public opinion," he said.