NPR logo Your Question: What Toxic Assets Do The Banks Have?

Your Question: What Toxic Assets Do The Banks Have?

Listener Seth McClure has a nice question:

Does the Bailout Bill make any provision for the exposure of a companies holdings? I would think that a full public accounting of each company's Toxic Debt would spur confidence at least because it would reduce the Unknown Unknowns out there.

Is the amount of Toxic Debt outstanding known?

We have a nice interview with billionaire Mark Cuban on today's podcast. He is proposing pretty much this exact idea and he goes into the details.

I think the reason it's not happening is simple: banks like to keep these things secret. They don't want to let all of their competitors know the details of their investment strategies.

Presumably, if the banks are in better shape than they appear, they might want to let us see their assets. So, I wonder if they're in worse shape and have an added incentive to keep that hidden.

Mark Cuban says, basically: so what. If they're going to take taxpayer money, they have to show us how healthy they are. Now.