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The Treasury Department on Thursday announced that it lost money in the public offering of its preferred stock in six small banks this week, though the department netted a profit when counting dividends and interest paid on the investments made during the financial crisis.
In the first-ever auction of preferred stock through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury recouped about $362 million of the $410.9 million it invested in the six small banks.
But the department said total income to taxpayers--counting dividends and interest along with auction proceeds--was $426.4 million.
More than three years after the launch of TARP, the federal government still owns stakes in about 350 banks. While the biggest institutions have long since paid back their rescue funding, many smaller banks have been slow to exit the government.
The divide in part reflects the difficulties faced by many Main Street banks, often saddled with poorly performing commercial real estate loans and limited ability to raise new funds. Together with weak regional economies and a tough lending environment, the banks have not been able to exit TARP.
Before this week's transactions, $16.42 billion was outstanding under TARP's Capital Purchase Program, the main federal effort to help stabilize financial markets.
The Treasury sold its stakes in six banks as it looks to recoup its investment. The six have kept up on dividend and interest payments to the Treasury, making them relatively healthy compared with institutions that have skipped payments in an effort to hold on to cash.
The six banks were Banner Corp. (BANR) of Walla Walla, Wash., First Financial Holdings Inc. (FFCH) of Charleston, S.C.; MainSource Financial Group Inc. (MSFG) of Greensburg, Ind.; Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida (SBCF) of Stuart, Fla.; Wilshire Bancorp Inc. (WIBC) of Los Angeles; and WSFS Financial Corp. (WSFS) of Wilmington, Del.
-By Andrew Ackerman; Dow Jones Newswires; 202-569-8390; firstname.lastname@example.org