Reuters News Service is reporting that major banks, including Citigroup Inc/, are looking at setting up a roughly $80 billion fund to buy ailing mortgage securities and other assets, in a bid to prevent the credit crunch from further hurting the global economy, sources familiar with the matter said. News sources told Reuters that representatives from the U.S. Treasury have organized conversations among top global banks, sources said, as financial institutions grow increasingly concerned that a certain type of investment fund linked to banks may have to dump billions of dollars of repackaged loans onto financial markets.
The concern? A fire-sale of assets could lift borrowing costs globally, trigger big losses from investors and force banks to further write down some holdings on their balance sheets. Such sales could trigger huge losses for banks, and in the worst-case scenario tip the U.S. or Europe into recession. The fund would be the latest response to a global credit hangover after at least three years of easy credit that fueled massive mortgage lending in the United States and spurred record levels of leveraged buyouts.