"No one wants to put money into these banks and see it become worth less,” he adds. “That has happened quarter after quarter."
Momentum for the so-called aggregate bad bank asset-purchase plan has built quickly since Fed Chairman Ben Benrnake mentioned the idea in a wide-ranging speech last week.
FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair referred on Wednesday to the financial-aid options Bernanke outlined, telling CNBC the aggregate bad bank option "might have an advantage in the sense that it actually moves the assets off the balance sheets, freeing up lending capacity."
Though some have scoffed at the resurfacing of the troubled asset purchase plan—which was the cornerstone of the TARP bailout package last fall. It was shelved by then-Treasury Secretary Paulson, who instead adopted a capital-injection model. Analysts say the continuing financial crisis underscores the concept’s utility and might even make it more attractive than before.
"They're [bank stocks] destroying the national wealth and they are dragging down the stock market," says Thomas Cooley, dean of NYU's Stern School of Business. "If the the financial system isn't provided the tools for commerce, the value of all firms declines. It's been like massive organ failure."
Cooley says that in this context, the interests of taxpayers and shareholders are converging. What's more, the policy choices have narrowed.
"The two options left are buying the assets or putting more capital in [the banks], and that is defacto nationalization," says veteran money manager Jim Awad, managing director at Zeyphr Management, explaining an emerging view.
The banking industry knows that—and so does the Obama administration, say analysts. And nationalization is a last resort in a time of insolvency.
"I don't think we want to function with the government owning the financial sector," says Glauber. "We can own a minority piece, and that may be necessary in the short term."
Of course, capital injections into dozens of banks have already brought that, and the government's return on investment has been miserable, much like that of the average investor.
Experts say the Obama economic team has been aware of the potential need for more aid to the financial system since shortly after the November election. At the time, Paulson made it clear he was communicating and consulting with the incoming Obama team, which included Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geither, then-President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
Moreover, the President-elect made his concerns and priorities clear when he asked the Bush administration to seek release of the remaining TARP funds on his behalf, saying it would be "irresponsible" not to have "potential ammunition."
Geithner, when asked about the idea in his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, was naturally guarded, but said it is "possible” a bad bank” concept “will be part of the solution going forward."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) told CNBC Thursday the bad bank plan is “a significant focus of discussion” and is “under serious consideration.”
Though there's no plan per se yet, the concept has broad industry support.
Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric (CNBC's parent company) Friday became the latest hig-profile executive to back the bad bank model, calling it a "good idea", and added "this is going to happen". New CitigroupChairman Richard Parsons has urged the government to create such an entity, citing the effectiveness of the RTC during the S&L crisis.
"We welcome the notion of going back to the original purpose [of the TARP plan]," says Steve O'Connor, senior VP for government affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Size and scale is an issue that is open to obvious debate."
So will the controversial issue of pricing the troubled asset. That dominated—and, some say, doomed—the original idea of a reverse auction run by the government.