TARP Repayment Line Grows

As the deadline for capital plans under the government’s stress test requirements approaching, the line of banks jostling toward the TARP exit sign grows. Additionally, three large institutions, Goldman Sachs (GS), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are the subjects of the newest reports circulating around possible TARP repayments. Bank holding companies that failed the government’s Supervisory Capital Assessment Program  (SCAP) must achieve a 6% Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio and a 4% Tier 1 common risk-based ratio by year-end ’10. Banks found to lack capital have until June 8 to develop a detailed plan to raise capital and until November 9 to put the plan to work, according to details released in early May by the US Treasury Department. “Those institutions that do not need to raise additional capital will have the opportunity to repay the government’s existing capital investments,” Treasury secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement following the release of the stress test results. “To do this, they will need to demonstrate that they are able to issue debt without FDIC guarantees, as some banks have already begun to do.” The bank holding companies wishing to return funds must retain the capital ratios required under SCAP even after TARP repayment. The Treasury also requires them to issue senior unsecured debt for a term greater than five years and not backed by FDIC guarantees “in amounts sufficient to demonstrate a capacity to meet funding needs independent of government guarantees,” according to a frequently-asked-questions document on repaying funds. The list of banks to already repurchase preferred stock through the Capital Purchase Program swelled to 14, according to the latest transaction report. The reasons for repayment ranged from the stigma associated with accepting government aid and tighter compensation-related regulations to capital raised at the institutions, to sufficient capital raised under profitable business practices. For instance, Alliance Financial‘s (ALNC) CEO Jack Web, in announcing the company’s $26.9m repayment, said changes in legal and regulatory requirements “inhibit the manner in which we operate our business and are not in the best interests of our customers, community and shareholders.” American Express (AXP), however, in a media release announcing it applied for repayment in the wake of positive test results, said the CPP targets banks in need of access to needed credit. “Since then, financial markets have become more stable, and American Express has made substantial progress in adapting to a very difficult economic environment,” company officials said in the press statement. The repayment has not finalized yet, but media reports indicate large, qualifying institutions like American Express might be authorized to begin repayment as early as June 8. Goldman, which in October received $10bn through CPP, announced shortly after its Q109 earnings release it would offer $5bn in common stock for public sale. “After the completion of the stress assessment, if permitted by our supervisors and if supported by the results of the stress assessment, Goldman Sachs would like to use the capital raised [through the common stock sale] plus additional resources to redeem all of the TARP capital,” company executives said in a press release. Goldman earlier this month told the Federal Reserve it would like to begin repayment as soon as possible. A company spokesperson tells HousingWire Goldman wants to repay the funds as soon as possible, pending approval by its regulators. JP Morgan, which also received $25bn through CPP, said in an early May statement responding to the SCAP stress test results that its ratios would remain very strong “even when excluding” TARP funds. “The Administration and our supervisors know that we would like to repay our TARP funding,” a Chase spokesperson tells HousingWire. “We are awaiting instructions.” Federal regulators found Morgan Stanley, which received $10bn through CPP, in need of $1.8bn to meet SCAP ratio requirements. On May 8 it said it expected gross proceeds from certain equity and debt offerings to total $8bn. It was unclear whether the company intended to use these funds toward just meeting its capital requirement or also repaying TARP funds, and company spokespeople did not return inquiries before this story went to press. Write to Diana Golobay. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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