"taxpayers are now the biggest shareholders in Bank of America, with
about 6 percent of the stock, and in Citigroup, with 7.8 percent. But
the government’s influence is far larger than those numbers suggest,
because it has guaranteed to absorb the losses of some of the two
banks’ most toxic assets, a figure that could run into the hundreds of
billions of dollars.
Many believe this form of hybrid ownership —
part government, part private, with the responsibilities of ownership
unclear — will not prove workable."