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British banks caught up in TARP payback

Jan. 15, 2010 at 10:23 AM

LONDON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The Royal Bank of Scotland and two other British banks appear to be caught up in the proposed bank fee announced by U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday.

The fee is meant to recoup "every last dime" of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds used to bailout the collapsing financial sector last year, Obama said.

Obama called the fee, meant to collect $90 billion in 10 years, a "financial crisis responsibility fee."

But RBS, Barclays and HSBC, none of which received TARP funds, would also have to pony up the fee, which will be assessed through U.S. assets, minus capital and deposits, The Times of London reported Friday.

As such, the three British banks would contribute more than $10 billion to the U.S. government if Congress approves the measure.

It is reasoned banks that did not receive TARP funding still benefited from the $700 billion program that propped up the financial system while large banks, including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia Bank and Bear Stearns, were collapsing.

Analyst Joseph Dickerson said RBS could owe the U.S. nearly $1 billion and Barclays, $5.6 billion. HSBC could see a bill of $3.8 billion, he said.

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