Merchants Bank declines bailout money

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(Host) At least one Vermont bank qualified for money from the federal government’s bailout of the financial industry.

But Merchants Bank President Mike Tuttle says he decided against accepting $24 million from Washington.

(Tuttle) “In the end, when we did the analysis, we just felt it was something that wasn’t necessary, that we didn’t need it, that our company was in a strong enough position without it. It really wasn’t something that was going to benefit us or our shareholders or our customers.”

(Host) Tuttle says Merchants applied for the federal government’s “capital purchase program” in November to keep its options open.

He says the program involves the Treasury Department buying preferred stock in banks that have a healthy bottom line.

Tuttle says the Treasury Department gave the Merchants application preliminary approval. But by that time, the bank decided the infusion of money wasn’t necessary.


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