Banker explains why he turned down TARP funds: “Strings”

The banker is Steve Buster, CEO of California community bank “Mechanics”. Alexis Glick conducts the interview and it’s a great one.

Part one, Buster tells Glick they wanted the money, could have used the money but it came with too many strings.


Here in Part Two Glick asks … “what strings?”. Buster says they wanted to tell us how to lend.


Buster essentially says his bank uses sound lending practices and the government’s idea of lending would have compromised that, endangering the banks sound business. Thanks but not thanks.

Unfortunately, the big bankers have learned this all too late. They have finally realized that they have sold their soul. If you want to know what I mean …listen to Charlies Daniels. You’ll get it too.

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Jim Vicevich

Jim is a veteran broadcaster and conservative/libertarian blogger with more than 25 years experience in TV and radio. Jim's was the long-term host of The Jim Vicevich Show on WTIC 1080 in Hartford from 2004 through 2019. Prior to radio, Jim worked as a business and financial reporter for NBC30 - the NBC owned TV station in Hartford - and as business editor at WFSB-TV in Hartford for 14 years while earning six Emmy nominations and three Telly Awards.


  1. Dimsdale on February 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    It is one thing when the strings are realistic, economically feasible controls etc., and quite another when they are unrealistic, economically unfeasible social engineering projects.

    Like the Community Reinvestment Act.   Don't you wish the banks actually redlined or something close to it?  I know I got a rectal exam when I applied for a mortgage, but I am not looking for a bailout now.  And what ever happened to PMI?

    • davis on February 13, 2009 at 1:27 am

      So the real issue is that you don't like the strings, like those which are unrealistic, economically unfeasible social engineering projects (good evaluation on your part based on?). Good strings, whatever they are, are OK? You don't like the strings? Don't take the money, good move to reduce the additional defict to come.

  2. davis on February 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Great! He saved the taxpayers $60M, aren’t you happy? Yesterday Barney Frank told the bankers that if they wanted to give back the TARP money the US Treasury would take it back. Isn’t that terrific? By the way, my bank also did not take TARP money? So what is your? point? If the money they get is taxpayers money there better be strings attached. Remember what happened at Bank of A?

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