How much can the new TARP chief accomplish?


It's probably not news to most people who read the papers that Herb Allison, who currently runs Fannie Mae (FNM), is the Obama administration's choice to oversee the TARP. Now the choice is official and Allison can begin months of frustrating work that will probably offer little reward.

The TARP has a number of problems now, and a new boss will not solve them. At the top of that list is the committee appointed by Congress to be the watchdog in charge of tracking how the government's funds are used. It has been highly critical of the decision about how the money been spent and what it views as the almost total lack of accountability for tracking whether banks are using the capital as intended. Allison almost certainly will spend a good deal of time defending decisions that Congress believes favor the banks but not bank customers who need loans.