State Street is first to pay back all TARP funds

Bloomberg News / July 11, 2009
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WASHINGTON - State Street Corp. paid $60 million to repurchase warrants held by the US Treasury, becoming the first major financial firm to exit the government’s $700 billion rescue program.

State Street, the world’s largest money manager for institutions, previously bought back $2 billion in preferred shares it received in October under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Treasury released details yesterday about the warrant sale to the Boston-based lender.

Nine other large banks joined State Street last month in repaying a collective $68 billion in rescue funds. The others have yet to negotiate deals with the Treasury for buying back warrants, securities obtained as part of the bailout that give the government the right to buy common equity at a set price.

The warrant sales are politically sensitive for the Treasury, which has been under pressure by lawmakers to drive a hard bargain on behalf of taxpayers. Banks, in turn, have complained that valuing the securities too highly could impede the administration’s goal of restoring stability to the financial system.

A State Street spokeswoman confirmed the repurchase while declining further comment.

Earlier yesterday, the Congressional Oversight Panel, a watchdog group, issued a report asserting that the Treasury has sold warrants it obtained from rescued banks for about two-thirds of what they are worth. A Treasury official disputed the conclusion.