In a column on the Bloomberg wire, Jonathan Weil hands out "awards for taking principled stands under fire" to those few he calls "good guys." At the top of the list:
Dick Evans, chief executive officer, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. He said no to the government's bailout money. Of the 24 companies in the KBW Bank Index, San Antonio- based Cullen/Frost was one of three that declined to participate in the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program. Many banks applied for TARP funds because their bosses thought the government was forcing it on them...Other banks that refused TARP funds include People's United Financial Inc. of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Commerce Bancshares Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri.
As I've noted, the whole question of how the banks were "forced" to accept government money is one that is worthy of some further investigation. The whole formulation "their bosses thought the government was forcing it on them" is an interesting one. Were those bosses mistaken? Was it all just a misunderstanding? What did the government say or do to give the bosses the impression they were being forced?