Fed Loan Report Could Hit Regionals, Not Major Banks

The Federal Reserve's massive data disclosure on which institutions got bailout money will be interesting from a historical standpoint but unlikely to be meaningful for investors, experts say.


In probably the biggest data dump in the central bank's history, the public will get to know which banks got how much under the government's slew of programs aimed at improving liquidity during the financial crisis.

The move comes as a requirement under this year's Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

"Unless there's a surprise in there, it's been fairly well-telegraphed to the Street," said Dave Lutz, managing director of trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore. "If anything, the Street enjoys transparency, so it might be a minor positive. Unless there's a big surprise, it's probably a non-event."

As the financial system fell beneath the weight of the subprime mortgage collapse in 2008 and 2009, the Fed stepped in with a series of programs to help pump liquidity to the system. The largest banks essentially were required to take the funds, and some have paid it back.

Some other, mostly smaller institutions have yet to return the money and could suffer the most when the Fed makes its disclosures.

"The big thing here is it's probably going to hit a couple of the regional banks. It seems to have been factored in for the most part," said Michael Cohn, chief investment strategist at Global Arena Investment Management in New York. "Most of the financials are dead money anyway."

Still, investors are curious to see how much money the likes of Goldman Sachs , Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America , took from the central bank.

Financials have been among the weakest stock market performers, even as the Standard & Poor's 500 has risen nearly 6 percent for the year. The sector is up fractionally for 2010.

Today's report may not have a major impact, though, especially if the economic data continue to come in strong.

"It's probably rear-view mirror stuff. What matters more currently are the ongoing debt issues and the economy. The Fed is secondary," said Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati. "We're encouraged by the fact that consumer discretionary keeps leading this market higher. It seems like we're more forward-looking, and (the Fed disclosure) is kind of backward-looking."

—Reuters contributed to this report.