Credit Crisis May Force Metro to Pay Millions

Metro and 30 other transit agencies across the country may have to pay billions of dollars to large banks as years-old financing deals unravel, potentially hurting service for millions of bus and train riders, transit officials said yesterday.
October 28, 2008, 6am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The problems are an unexpected consequence of the credit crisis, triggered indirectly by the collapse of American International Group, the insurance giant that U.S. taxpayers recently rescued from bankruptcy, officials said.

AIG had guaranteed deals between transit agencies and banks under which the banks made upfront payments that the agencies agreed to repay over time. But AIG's financial problems have invalidated the company's guarantees, putting the deals in technical default and allowing the banks to ask for all their money at once.

In Metro's case, the regional transit agency could face up to $400 million in payments, the system's chief financial officer, Carol Kissal, said in an interview yesterday. One bank, KBC Group of Belgium, has told Metro that it needs to pay $43 million by next week. Metro officials confirmed the details but declined to name the bank."

Thanks to Joanna Winchester

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Published on Friday, October 24, 2008 in Washington Post
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