Geithner to Hold Call with G7 on Greece, Markets

Steve Liesman|CNBC Senior Economics Reporter

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will hold a call with other G7 Finance ministers on the Greek and market situation, CNBC has learned Thursday, though little action is expected.

Timothy Geithner

The call comes a day after a series of furious meetings involved Geithner, President Obama, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke and other senior economic advisors in the administration.

Following testimony on the hill this afternoon, Geithner was in the hallway at the Treasury talking with several of his deputies. Officials had been monitoring the Greek situation all day and the market had been down only about 200 points when Geithner looked at his blackberry and saw that stocks had plunged 800 or 900 points.

“That can’t be right,” Geithner told his deputies, according to a senior administration official.

About half an hour later, Geithner was in the White House with Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, briefing President Obama. They had few facts at the time about the chaotic trading in markets. The president could only offer the officials whatever assistance he could provide and later held a phone conversation with German President Angela Merkel.

Soon after briefing the President,  Geithner held a conference call with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, New York Fed President Bill Dudley, Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Geithner asked Gensler and Schapiro to personally look into the trading on the exchanges. According to the official, the early read is that the problems began with high volume trading in Chicago and then migrated to New York.

Geithner later held talks with the head of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. He is to hold talks Friday morning with finance ministers from the Group of Seve

The U.S. is in a difficult place. Privately, U.S. officials believe Europe took to long to act on the Greek problem and to address the capital problems in their banks. But they believe recently they have begun to understand the need to act with force. Even while Europeans have shown signs of changing their tacts, they are still late. The U.S., meanwhile, can’t do or say much or risk being seen meddling in European affairs.