Mnuchin: Everything's Fine, Banks Have Money to Lend

'Not exactly confidence inspiring'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2018 4:17 AM CST
Treasury Chief Gathers 'Plunge Protection Team'
In this Dec. 3, 2018 photo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talks with reporters at the White House   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Sunday that he had called the CEOs of America's six largest banks and they had confirmed him that they had ample cash available for lending. His tweet, however, alarmed some analysts, who noted that Treasury secretaries don't call bank chiefs on a Sunday seeking reassurances when everything is fine. With financial markets rattled by the partial government shutdown and the stock market's worst week in a decade, Mnuchin also plans to convene the president's working group on financial markets, better known as the "plunge protection team," the Guardian reports. The group was created after the Black Monday crash in October 1987.

"We continue to see strong economic growth in the US economy with robust activity from consumers and business," Mnuchin said, adding that the Treasury Department would be able to continue its "core operations" despite the shutdown. BBC presenter Dominic O'Connell called the secretary's Sunday phone calls "very odd" and warned that they could "spook markets, not reassure them"—especially since the "ample liquidity" Mnuchin spoke of hadn't previously been thought to be a worry. "The Secretary of Treasury calling the nation’s top bankers on a Sunday to confirm they have cash to lend. Not exactly confidence inspiring," Ian Brember, president of the Eurasia Group, tells Bloomberg. (More Steven Mnuchin stories.)

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