The TARP Peace Sign

Wednesday was a rare day in Washington: the Federal government was actually cash-flow positive.

The reason, of course, is that ten major banks repaid $68 billion in TARP money. Smaller banks had previously repaid about $2 billion, so Wednesday’s action lifted total repayments to $70 billion, almost 30% of TARP support to individual banks.

(For those who don’t get the title, this pie chart reminds me of a peace sign.)

As noted in my previous post on TARP, that means that two firms — Citigroup and Bank of America — now account for the majority of outstanding TARP support to banks. Citigroup has received $50 billion in three transactions, and B of A has received $45 billion in two transactions. Investments in all other banks now total “only” $79 billion.

To completely free themselves from TARP, the ten major banks still have to repurchase the warrants that Treasury received as part of its investment. For taxpayers’ sake, let’s hope that Treasury gets full value for those warrants (for my earlier thoughts on the warrants see here).

Note: Bank investments have turned out to be only a fraction of what TARP has been used for, as shown in the following graph from my prior post on TARP.

Disclosure: I have no investments in any TARP recipients except Citigroup. As research for my continuing series on the Citigroup anomaly (latest installment here), I am currently long a small amount of Citigroup preferred and short some call options on the common.

About Donald Marron 294 Articles

Donald Marron is an economist in the Washington, DC area. He currently speaks, writes, and consults about economic, budget, and financial issues.

From 2002 to early 2009, he served in various senior positions in the White House and Congress including: * Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) * Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) * Executive Director of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC)

Before his government service, Donald had a varied career as a professor, consultant, and entrepreneur. In the mid-1990s, he taught economics and finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He then spent about a year-and-a-half managing large antitrust cases (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke) at Charles River Associates in Washington, DC. After that, he took the plunge into the world of new ventures, serving as Chief Financial Officer of a health care software start-up in Austin, TX. After that fascinating experience, he started his career in public service.

Donald received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Mathematics a couple miles down the road at Harvard.

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