AIG stripped of ‘too big to fail’ label by US regulators

WASHINGTON: Insurer AIG, rescued by the US government at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, will no longer face the stricter oversight of a “too big to fail” institution, the Treasury Department said on Friday.
Regulators with the Financial Stability Oversight Council voted 6-3 to relieve AIG of the designation that its failure could “pose a threat to US financial stability,” the department said.
The move greatly eases the regulatory oversight of AIG, which was rescued in a government bailout at the height of the crisis because of its close links with other key financial institutions.
The government saved AIG with a controversial $182 billion bailout that was later repaid in full by the insurer.
It was one of the most momentous decisions taken at the height of the crisis.
Once the world’s largest insurer, AIG was teetering on the verge of collapse under tens of billions of dollars of souring, unhedged derivatives contracts in September 2008 when it sought liquidity from the New York Fed.
On the same climactic weekend that they let investment banking giant Lehmann Brothers fail, the government agreed to lend AIG an initial $85 billion in exchange for a 79.9 per cent controlling stake.
AIG was saved as the global financial system stood at the brink of disaster.
If AIG had failed, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in 2015 in a trial over whether the bailout was even legal, “it would have taken down the financial system and hurt millions of Americans.”  — AFP