November 14th, 2008

You couldn’t make this up, Hartford Financial edition

I was going to post something about Freddie Mac's losses in the third quarter, when this story popped up from back home in Connecticut:
Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. said it’s buying a Florida bank [Federal Trust Bank] for $10 million so the insurer can be eligible for the Treasury rescue program.

Hartford, based in the Connecticut city of the same name, expects to qualify for $1.1 billion to $3.4 billion under Treasury guidelines, the company said in a statement distributed today by Business Wire.
What a blatant piss take. From the statement:
“We are taking these actions as a strong and well-capitalized financial institution looking for maximum flexibility and stability,” said Ramani Ayer, The Hartford’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Securing capital at the terms available through the Capital Purchase Program could be a prudent course in this market environment and would allow us to further supplement our existing capital resources.”
(Translation: Pay $10m, get $3.4bn? Where do we sign?)
If I owned a small bank that was eligible for the TARP I think I'd be in for a very busy (and likely very profitable) weekend...

Edit: Deadline was Friday, except for private banks. Just in case you're planning something.