Treasury Notes

 75 Facts About the 75th Secretary of the Treasury

By: Anthony Reyes

Four years ago, Tim Geithner was confirmed as the 75th Secretary of the Treasury amidst the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and an economy on the verge of collapse. While there is more work that remains to be done, four years later, he leaves office with a growing economy that continues to strengthen and a safer financial system becoming more resilient each day. Here are 75 facts about the Secretary and his tenure:

1.    Secretary Geithner was confirmed as the 75th Treasury Secretary on January 26, 2009 in the midst of the U.S. financial crisis.


2.    Secretary Geithner made 99 official trips during his tenure. All told, he visited 45 cities in the United States and 38 cities abroad.


3.     Secretary Geithner spent more than 167 hours testifying before Congress, appearing at 67 hearings during his tenure.


4.     Secretary Geithner logged more than 600,000 miles on international trips, taking him from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Sylt, Germany.

5.     Secretary Geithner routinely visited with finance ministers, central bankers, and other world leaders. He had 76 meetings with heads of government, including those in which he accompanied President Obama.

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6.     Secretary Geithner is the only Treasury Secretary who previously served Treasury as a career civil service employee. He has served over 17 years at the Treasury Department.

7.     Secretary Geithner’s signature appears on more than 17 billion Federal Reserve notes.

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8.     Secretary Geithner personally received more than 2,100 letters from Congress during his tenure. Overall, the Treasury Department handled almost 8,000 pieces of Congressional mail during his tenure.

9.     Secretary Geithner routinely reached out to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, holding approximately 280 meetings with lawmakers during his tenure.


10.  Secretary Geithner has made 24 appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, including the completion of a rare “full Ginsburg,” when he represented the Administration on all five Sunday programs during December’s fiscal talks.

11.  Secretary Geithner is the longest serving member of President Obama’s economic team.


12.  Secretary Geithner has seven women on his senior leadership team, the most women in Senate-confirmed positions at any time in Treasury history. Notably, two of his three Under Secretaries are female, the first time either of these top positions in Domestic Finance or International Affairs has been held by a woman.


13.  Secretary Geithner will be the eighteenth longest serving Treasury Secretary in the Department’s history.

14.  Secretary Geithner attended 21 “G-meetings” – (G-7, G-8, and G-20) – during his tenure, including one summit in Iqualuit, Canada just a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle.

15.  Secretary Geithner personally called Neal S. Wolin to ask him to come help fight the financial crisis and reform the financial system as his Deputy Secretary. Deputy Secretary Wolin will serve as Acting Treasury Secretary, beginning January 26. 

16.  Secretary Geithner was born in New York City but spent much of his childhood outside the United States in Zimbabwe, India, and Thailand.

17.  Secretary Geithner graduated from Dartmouth in 1983, where he double-majored in Government and Asian studies. 

18.  Secretary Geithner studied Mandarin and Japanese in college.

19.  Secretary Geithner was the 2012 graduation speaker at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he earned a master’s degree in 1985.


20.  Secretary Geithner’s first job was as a research associate at Kissinger Associates, where he worked for former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.


21.  Secretary Geithner joined the International Affairs staff of the Treasury Department in 1988. He became Treasury’s Assistant Financial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in 1990.


22.  Secretary Geithner was a senior Treasury official during the Clinton Administration, serving as Under Secretary for International Affairs.  

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23.  Secretary Geithner had extensive experience in financial crisis response even before the fall of 2008, having helped manage the U.S. response to crises in Mexico, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, and Argentina during the Clinton Administration. He also served as Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Policy Development and Review Department from 2001 to 2003.


24.  Secretary Geithner served as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 until he became Treasury Secretary in January 2009.


25.  Secretary Geithner has had a long and distinguished career in public service, and, despite the widespread belief to the contrary, has never worked on Wall Street.

26.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury recovered nearly 93 percent of the funds that the government originally disbursed from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) – and expects to recover additional dollars moving forward.


27.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, TARP funds used to stabilize the nation’s banks have generated a significant profit for taxpayers. To date, Treasury has recovered $268 billion in repayments and other income under its bank programs compared to an initial investment of $245 billion – representing a $23 billion positive return.

28.  Secretary Geithner championed the use of stress tests to help rebuild confidence in the financial system during the financial crisis. They have since become a standard part of the financial regulatory toolkit to promote financial stability.


29.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury completed the wind down of the portfolio of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it acquired as part of its response to the financial crisis, generating a nearly $25 billion positive return for taxpayers.


30.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury played a key role in the rescue of the auto industry, which helped save more than one million American jobs. And since GM and Chrysler restructured, the overall U.S. auto industry has added more than a quarter million new jobs.

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31.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Federal Reserve and Treasury fully recovered the $182 billion that they committed to stabilize AIG during the financial crisis – with an additional $22.7 billion positive return for taxpayers.

32.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury established the New Issue Bond Program, which committed more than $15.3 billion to purchase bonds that helped support multifamily housing during the crisis. The New Issue Bond Program financed more than 105,000 affordable single-family mortgages for first time homebuyers, and 40,000 multi-family rental units for low and moderate income families. 

33.  Secretary Geithner established two new divisions within the Treasury Department to respond to the housing crisis – the Homeownership Preservation Office, which oversees efforts to help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure, and the Office of Capital Markets, which works on long-term housing finance reform.




34.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury established HAMP, a nationwide mortgage modification program that has helped more than 1.1 million troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure and catalyzed assistance for more than 3 million homeowners through private industry loan modifications.

35.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development hosted 81 homeownership preservation events in 26 states hit hard by the financial crisis. These events have helped tens of thousands of borrowers learn about their foreclosure prevention options and get immediate help connecting with loan servicer representatives and local housing counselors.


36.  Secretary Geithner was the first chairman of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a new interagency body established by the Wall Street Reform Act to identify threats to the financial system. It has held 26 official meetings since October 2010, more than three times as many as required by law.  


37. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, he successfully sought and implemented a landmark Wall Street reform bill that broadened the scope of oversight over the financial markets with the Financial Stability Oversight Council, Federal Insurance Office, and Office of Financial Research. He also pushed for a strong  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was stood up by Treasury under his guidance and is now a standalone agency.


38. Secretary Geithner has pressed for tougher supervision over institutions that could pose risks that endanger the entire financial system – and through the Financial Stability Oversight Council, has already required heightened supervision for eight financial market utilities.


39. Secretary Geithner has pushed the regulatory agencies with rulewriting authority to move quickly but diligently in implementing Wall Street reform. About 90 percent of rules with deadlines that have passed have been proposed or finalized. 

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40. Secretary Geithner was an early and outspoken advocate for banks to hold more capital in order to cushion against unexpected financial shocks. U.S. banks have raised more than $460 billion in fresh capital since the depths of the financial crisis in early 2009.


41. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury worked to support lending for families and businesses through a series of programs that thawed the once-frozen credit markets during the financial crisis. For example, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), a joint program with the Federal Reserve, helped support the issuance of nearly 3 million auto loans, more than 1 million student loans, nearly 900,000 loans to small businesses, 150,000 other business loans, and millions of credit card loans.


42. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury established the Small Business Lending Fund that encouraged small banks to extend credit to companies that need it. So far, fund participants have increased their small business lending by $7.4 billion.  


43. Secretary Geithner oversaw the establishment of the Treasury’s first Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, which oversees diversity and inclusion in the workforce and business activities of the Departmental Offices. 


44. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury is increasingly going paperless. Treasury has virtually discontinued new issues of paper savings bonds, and now makes approximately 93 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments electronically. 


45.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury proposed more than $1.1 billion in savings through program efficiencies and reductions to its budget.


46. Secretary Geithner was committed to managing the nation’s finances prudently, consistent with the long-term objective of financing the government at the lowest cost over time, and ensuring regular and predictable management of the overall portfolio. That is one reason why the weighted average maturity of Treasury securities is now at its longest level in a decade – and is up nearly 33 percent since October 2008.


47. Secretary Geithner ordered the elimination of the minting of excess dollar coins – saving $50 million annually. 


48. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Treasury Department met all of its small business contracting goals for the first time ever in fiscal 2011, earning an “A+” from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Treasury was the only cabinet-level agency to achieve all of its contracting goals and is poised to reach them again in fiscal 2012.


49. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Treasury building became what is believed to be the oldest building in the world to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certification when it received that commendation in 2011.


50. When Secretary Geithner entered office, the economy was collapsing with GDP declining at an annual rate of 9 percent. Only six months later, the economy began growing at a rate of about 2 percent – a dramatic 11 percentage point turnaround – and has now grown for 13 straight quarters.


51. As a result of the policies the President, Secretary Geithner, the economic team, and the Fed put in place to arrest the crisis and support growth, the U.S. has grown at a faster pace than most major advanced economies. The U.S. economy is now 2.5 percent larger than its pre-crisis peak and has grown by 7.5 percent since bottoming out in mid-2009. 20130117_75Charts_Page_2.jpg

52. Secretary Geithner and the Administration inherited a massive $1.3 trillion deficit before any of the Administration’s policies even took effect. Since then, the deficit has declined as a share of the economy in every year he’s been in office. 20130117_75Charts_Page_3.jpg

53. Secretary Geithner was part of the economic team that developed the comprehensive, specific set of proposals in the President’s FY 2013 Budget, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) affirmed would stabilize the debt to GDP ratio by the middle of the decade as a step toward reducing our national debt.

54. Secretary Geithner was one of the principal negotiators with Congress during the bipartisan December 2010 tax compromise. On top of the extension of the middle-class 2001/03 tax cuts, the President’s priorities in that bill added $238 billion in support to families and the broader economy.

55. Secretary Geithner and the President fought for and extended the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits at the end of 2011 despite fierce opposition.

56. In the four years Secretary Geithner has been at the helm at Treasury, Congress has passed a total of 12 laws to support job creation, providing more than $1.4 trillion in fiscal support for the economy.


57. Secretary Geithner repeatedly made the moral and economic case for ending the high-income 2001/2003 tax cuts, epitomized in an August 2010 speech at the Center for American Progress.

58. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury deepened its relationship with Chinese leaders through four Strategic & Economic Dialogues, helping spur China to agree to more balanced trade policies and to move to a more balanced global economy.


59. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury chaired the Deauville Partnership for Arab Countries in Transition, establishing a multi-donor fund of up to $250 million fund, expanding European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations to the region, and initiating other measures to strengthen institutions and markets in support of the Arab Spring.

60. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury helped secure Congressional support to remove a decades-old prohibition against U.S. support for international financial institution assistance in Burma when the country’s leadership undertook the bold shift toward a reform-oriented regime.

61. Secretary Geithner was instrumental in the successful nomination of Jim Kim as president of the World Bank.

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62. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury designed, secured congressional funding, and launched the Global Food Security and Agriculture Program (GAFSP). 


63. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury stepped up bipartisan funding through Congress for international initiatives.  He led strategies to secure recapitalization, replenishment, and reform of each international financial institution, setting the direction for global banks over the next five to 10 years.

64. Secretary Geithner is an avid athlete, regularly carving out time for exercise even on hectic overseas trips. For example, he played basketball with Chinese high school students in Beijing and swung a cricket bat in India.


65.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service made significant progress implementing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which cracks down on offshore tax evasion. Treasury is engaged with more than 50 countries and jurisdictions to improve tax compliance, and seven countries – Norway, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, and Spain – have already signed or initialed agreements with the United States to facilitate implementation of FATCA.

66.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the U.S. and international community significantly tightened the sanctions regime on Iran to disrupt Iran’s illicit activities.

67. Secretary Geithner helped to bolster the G-20’s role in the system as the premier forum for international economic and financial cooperation leading to stronger relationships with more personal conversations with global financial leaders.


68. Secretary Geithner led the decision to call for a massive expansion of the International Monetary Fund’s New Arrangement to Borrow by up to $500 billion to buttress the firewall for emerging markets for the global community.

69. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence group has strengthened sanctions against the Iranian government by designating hundreds of entities and individuals linked to Iran’s weapons of mass destruction program and support for terrorism.


70. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, Treasury entered into settlements with 26 financial institutions that were found in apparent violation of U.S. sanctions.  These include a $619 million settlement with ING Bank, the largest settlement Treasury has ever imposed for an apparent sanctions violation.

71. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed its two largest penalties in history against banks a $500 million fine against HSBC and a $110 million against Wachovia – for failure to comply with their anti-money laundering responsibilities.

72. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, TFI has designated more than 900 businesses and individuals linked to 97 drug kingpins under Treasury’s sanctions authorities. It has also targeted transitional criminal organizations around the globe including the Brothers’ Circle, Yakuza, the Camorra, Los Zetas, and MS 13.

73.  During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, TFI has used economic sanctions to isolate and weaken the Assad Regime as well as target those committing grave human rights abuses in Syria.  These designations have included the Syrian Government as well as all of Syria’s largest state owned banks.


74. During Secretary Geithner’s tenure, the Treasury Department was a founding member of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force – an umbrella body of more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and state and local partners that is the broadest coalition fraud fighters ever assembled.

75. Secretary Geithner is leaving Treasury on January 25, 2013 after 1,460 days in office. 

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