The US Treasury Department authorized BlackRock‘s (BLK) second interview for one of five asset manager positions in the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP), which aims to attract private capital in the hopes of clearing bad assets from banks and encouraging lending. BlackRock, which manages $132bn in mortgage-related assets, plans to raise as much as $7bn to invest in the program, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal. But BlackRock isn’t the only contender in the race. The Treasury in late April boasted more than 100 applications from hopeful PPIP asset managers. Treasury officials said in late April they planned to inform applicants of their preliminary qualification around May 15, when the fund managers needed to raise a minimum $500m for investment. The government match for these investments takes the form of taxpayer dollars, which will also go toward clearing toxic loans and mortgage-backed securities from banks’ balance sheets. Treasury said it plans to open the program to smaller fund managers in the future with a lower minimum capital requirement. Write to Diana Golobay. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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