Northern Trust Did Nothing Wrong

February/27/2009 2:58AM
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The past two days the media has been in a frenzy over the Northern Trust Open Golf tournament in California. Senator Kerry wants to manage all golf sponsorships for the PGA.Bill O’Reilly went nuts. We know why he goes nuts over the oil companies, his dad was a low level bean counter for Caltrex for 35 years, never promoted, and brought the bitterness home. Guess mom was a bank teller.In his usual uninformed fashion, O’Reilly vilified Northern Trust for taking TARP money and having a big party with the proceeds. Great story isn’t it? Northern Trust takes a billion and a half in TARP money, then blows it on customers. It’s enough to get one’s blood boiling. Our tax dollars. Except, it’s not true.

Northern Trust played by the rules. They didn’t need the TARP money. They were told it was in”their best interest to take it.” This is fact. A solid source told me this in December. A friend who is on the board of a small bank told me the same thing. This is how TARP funds were presented by Paulson’s people. You will take the money.If you try to pay it back earlythere is a stiff penalty. So, if you take TARP money and you were successful, you must now stop doing everything you did before to be successful and do what the government and Bill O’Reilly think you should do.

This is a classic case study of what happens when the government gets involved in business. You now have a partner who created the mess you were not involved in, and the partner will not let you do what you did to be successful and avoid the mess the new partner created.

Look at Northern’s perspective. They have more wealthy clients than any other bank in the U.S. It’s what they do, manage wealth. Many of those clients are pretty unhappy since you have been losing them money because Barney Frank and Chris Dodd let Fannie and Freddie destroy our economy.The other banks that took TARP were going broke because they took the risks and got involved in subprime mortgages and securitized investments with those mortgages in them.You, Northern Trust stayed out of that, made money, and tried to keep your wealthy clients happy while your government and your competition destroyed the economy.You get the cram down on TARP. You really don’t have any use for it but your take it because the government tells you it’s your patriotic duty to do so.

You have a sponsorship commitment to the PGA to do the tournament at Riviera.You need to schmooze unhappy wealthy clients. You always have, that’s why you are healthy when the other banks are failing.

Now, because you took government money you didn’t want and didn’t need, you are be tarred by that very government for doing what you have always done to be successful and avoid needing the TARP money.

Is this a great country or what? No, it isn’t. It’s a very sick country and getting sicker every day.This crap needs to stop and stopfast before it’s impossible for any business to succeed here.Read this: http://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/article.aspx?CDID=A-9124039-11112&KPLT=2.

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