STEALTH SUBSIDIES CONTINUE.

Tim Geithner's announcement that banks who wanted to repay their money early would have to also leave the FDIC's low-interest lending program received a pretty favorable response the other day. Banks shouldn't be able to leave only those government programs that impose regulatory constraints. No banks with benefits! But as Binyamin Appelbaum and Neil Irwin explain, they'll still be getting government help:

While the banking industry will remain on federal aid for the foreseeable future, officials also said they would now allow some of the healthiest banks to repay the government's initial capital investments. Nine of the 19 banks were found to have sufficient capital reserves. Firms that repay the government no longer face restrictions on executive compensation.

Applicants will first be required to show that they do not need the shelter of a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. program that helps banks raise money at lower interest rates. But banks may continue borrowing from the Federal Reserve's emergency programs, which do not impose pay restrictions.

Ah well.

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