July 21, 2011
Most of the big banks have repaid the government funds they received under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), the pillar of TARP under which Treasury bought preferred shares in the nation’s banks. Enough so that, combined with dividends and sales of warrants, Treasury has declared that taxpayers have earned a profit on the CPP. Thus far, $245 billion has gone out, and $255 billion in repayments, interest and warrants has come back, yielding a profit to taxpayers of $10 billion. And there’s several billion more where that came from.
But sometimes there’s less than meets the eye. Generally, banks that repaid CPP funds did so with cash raised from earnings, or by raising new outside capital. In finance and banking you always have to read the fine print. And if you go back to the report, you’ll notice that the fine print accompanying the entries for each of the above exits makes reference either to Footnote 49 or Footnote 50. Footnote 49 reads: “Repayment pursuant to Title VII, Section 7001(g) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 using proceeds received in connection with the institution’s participation in the Small Business Lending Fund.” Footnote 50 reads: “Repayment pursuant to Title VII, Section 7001(g) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — part of the repayment amount obtained from proceeds received in connection with the institution’s participation in the Small Business Lending Fund.”
All of which is to say that these banks repaid cash owed to a program run by the Treasury Department by. . . borrowing from another program run by the Treasury Department.
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