Dallas Fed Fisher says Fed handled AIG bonds sale responsibly
The Federal Reserve handled the sale of $1.3 billion in subprime mortgage bonds acquired from American International Group (AIG) during the downturn in the best possible manner, according to one regional Fed chief. Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said Friday the central bank's "duty is to get the best returns on any investment and to do that in a responsible way." Speaking to journalists at the 2011 Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Dallas, Fisher said the Federal Reserve did just that. His response came a few days after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and BlackRock (BLK) sold $1.3 billion of subprime mortgage bonds the Fed acquired from AIG upon bailing out the insurer three years ago. The sale came after the Fed rejected a bid from AIG to repurchase all of the assets lingering in the Maiden Lane II portfolio for $15.7 billion. That portfolio included subprime mortgage bonds tied to AIG during the 2008 bailout of the firm. Maiden Lane is the name of several residential mortgage securitization platforms created to clear toxic mortgage investments. While Fisher had kind words for the Fed's handling of the AIG asset sale, he struck back at the notion that the Fed is partly, if not largely, to blame for much of the financial crisis of the past few years, stressing responsible economic policy among lawmakers is key to steering the nation back on course. Fisher also said the central bank has turned a profit on investments made during the crisis, despite the controversy swirling around the Fed. "Regardless to how it came to be, the Fed did what it was required to do," he said. Fisher also repeated a humorous analogy that has become a staple of his recent speeches, saying America is feeling the negative effects of a "series of Lindsay Lohan Congresses," who are highly capable, but fail to critically balance spending and revenue. Write to Kerri Panchuk.