While politicians dither, another bank teeters

A bailout deal this weekend? A vote next Wednesday? Meanwhile, Wachovia looks for a buyer

Published September 26, 2008 10:33PM (EDT)

What to make of these data points, leaking out of Washington as the chattering classes turn their attention to Mississippi?

  • Politico reports that House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank is confident that there will be a deal on the Paulson plan by Sunday.

  • ABC's George Stephanopoulos reports that "Senate sources say a Senate vote on a bailout bill 'unlikely' before Wednesday."

(During a press conference on Friday afternoon, Frank also said the Treasury had agreed the deal must incorporate measures on executive compensation, oversight, and equity in exchange for taxpayer help.)

Now, a deal is not the same as a vote. The market wants a deal by Monday morning. If the vote comes a few days later, that's probably fine, as far as Wall Street is concerned.

But the pressure is on. While the Dow closed up a comfortable 120 points on Friday, shortly after the closing bell the New York Times reported that Wachovia, another bank sitting on a ton of option-ARM mortgages gone bad, is in talks to sell itself.

The consolidation and destruction wracking the financial world over the last two weeks shows no signs of abating. Quite the opposite -- the pace still seems to be accelerating.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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