TARP: Squeezing Blood from Banking Stones
There was a sense of relief in the financial markets when it was announced that 10 banks repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds in the amount of $68 billion back to the federal government. The ten banks included JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and American Express. Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, said the repayments were encouraging, but warned that the crisis in the banking industry was not over yet (Economist).
Unfortunately, the falling tide has left some banks stranded, unable to repay TARP loans or the dividends on the preferred shares issued to the government.
The Wall Street Journal reported the following:
At least three small, cash-strapped banks have stopped paying the U.S. government dividends that they owe because they got $315.4 million in capital infusions under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Pacific Capital Bancorp, a Santa Barbara, Calif., lender that got $180.6 million from the Treasury Department in November, has since posted net losses of $49.7 million. Pacific Capital said … that it suspended dividend payments on its common and preferred stock as part of a wider effort to save about $8 million per quarter. A bank spokeswoman confirmed that the U.S.’s preferred shares are included in the dividend freeze.
With around 40 bank failures already in 2009, these TARP dividend suspensions may be more the trend rather than the exception. Maybe next time the Treasury will ask for a deposit or driver’s license to guarantee dividend payments before they fork over more TARP money?
Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®
Plan. Invest. Prosper.
DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients own certain exchange traded funds, but at the time of publishing SCM had no direct position in JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), American Express (AXP), or any other security referenced in this article. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.