Under the Radar

GE Reaps Bailout Dollars

General Electric isn't a bank, so how did it nab tens of billions of dollars in federal bank relief? A smart piece by The Washington Post and investigative nonprofit ProPublica reveals how GE nabbed the money but evaded restrictions such as executive-compensation limits—the best of both worlds. GE's massive financial arm, GE Capital, is not classified as a bank. It originated during the Depression to offer consumers loans to buy GE products, but now, as the Post writes, it is "one of the world's largest and most-diverse financial operations." It would be the nation's seventh-largest banking company if it were a bank. The Obama administration essentially wants to close this loophole and make companies that accept bailout money accept bailout rules by forcing companies like GE to pick either commerce or banking.