Capital Investments Slow Near Bottom of TARP Barrel
The TARP's Capital Purchase Program (CPP) may be eying the bottom of the cup, if the dwindling daily draughts of capital injections are any indication. The Treasury Department announced earlier this week having invested $54.8 million in 10 financial institutions on April 3. One publicly-traded firm, Glen Ellen, Va.-based First Capital Bancorp Inc. (FCVA), received $10,958,000, or 20 percent of the day's capital injections. The largest of the day's capital injections -- $12.7 million -- went to Harrison, Ariz.-based Community First Bancshares Inc. The smallest investment of the day -- $1.7 million -- went to Theodore, Ala.-based BCB Holding Co. Inc. Although financial institutions and banks drank deeply from the well of TARP capital beginning with $115 billion on its first day of operations -- Oct. 28, 2008 -- and continuing with a handful of days afterword in excess of $30 billion from its various programs, daily injections dipped into millions territory as of Jan. 23 and have declined significantly in the last month alone. Daily capital investments have slowed at a fairly steady pace since the March 13 infusion of $1.46 billion in 19 institutions. CPP investments slowed to $80.75 million on March 20 and ticked up to $192.96 million on March 27 before plunging to $54.83 million on April 3. The decline in daily volume indicates the Treasury may be reigning in its daily spending of TARP funds in order to reserve remaining capital at its disposal. The Treasury has some $19.5 billion left of funding through the CPP after it adjusted its projected expenditure to $218 billion from $250 billion through that program, according to Treasury reports. The TARP -- and Treasury -- has faced rising criticism in recent weeks over an apparent lack of transparency in reporting transactions and changing policies. The March 2009 report on TARP by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that total remaining TARP funds may be as low as $32.6 billion under the maximum allowance model, which calculates the CPP at $250 billion and Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Fund (TALF) at $100 billion. The GAO report did, however, include a separate “projected use of funds” scenario that used the reduced amounts — $218 billion for CPP and $55 billion for TALF. Under this scenario, the program retains $109.6 billion. The accounting shuffle has given rise to the fear that TARP funds are running low and, combined with a TARP oversight report that urged the replacement of "failed management" and the liquidation of assets at financially unsound banks, has added to an industry-wide flight from government aid as a stigmata and sign of weakness. On March 31, five firms repaid a combined $353 million to the Treasury through stock repurchases. Morgantown, W.V.-based Centra Bank, a private firm, returned its $15 million; New York, N.Y.-based Signature Bank (SBNY) returned its $120 million; Evansville, Ind.-based Old National Bancorp (ONB) returned its $100 million; Novato, Calif.-based Bank of Marin Bancorp (BMRC) retuned $28 million; and Lafayette, La.-based Iberiabank Corp. (IBKC) repurchased all of the Treasury's $90 million in stocks. Many banks and financial institutions have said they intend to repay TARP funds as quickly as possible, with some professing they will not participate at all. Genworth Financial (GNW) was the latest firm to announce it will not participate, though in Genworth's case it was the result of an application deadline that will not be renewed. The company announced Thursday that its application to the Office of Thrift Supervision to become a savings and loan holding company -- in order to acquire Maple Grove, Minn-based InterBank fsb. as well as participate in the CPP -- was not approved in time for the deadline already set by the agencies. "Since Genworth's initial CPP application in November, we have made significant progress enhancing our capital levels and flexibility using various strategies including reinsurance, refinements in targeted markets, dividend reductions, risk mitigation and expense streamlining," CEO Michael Fraizer said in a media statement. He also mentioned that the nature of the CPP "has continued to evolve" since the application. In other words: It's no longer the program we applied for, and we're just fine without it, thank you very much. Write to Diana Golobay at email@example.com. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.