NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup's (C) desire to pay back $20 billion of remaining bailout money is being held up by the Treasury Department's refusal to sell its 34% stake in the bank, a report says.
Citigroup executives are frustrated because they can't sell stock to raise money to repay funds received under the Troubled Assets Relief Program until the Treasury signals when and how it will sell its 7.7 billion shares, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. And investors may be reluctant to buy shares because a Treasury sale could drive down the price, Bloomberg notes.
On Thursday, Bank of America said it sold $19.29 billion of securities as part of its plan to pay back the funds.Citigroup executives for three months have tried to persuade the Treasury Department to move ahead with a sale, the people told Bloomberg. The Treasury Department is sitting on a gain of about $6 billion from the shares it holds based on the bank's current market price, Bloomberg notes. Meg Reilly, a Treasury spokeswoman, declined to comment for the news agency on whether the government has sold any shares or when it may do so. A Citigroup spokesman said he couldn't comment. The Treasury Department hasn't told Citigroup how or when it plans to dispose of the stake, Bloomberg reports. Citigroup received $45 billion last year under TARP. In September, $25 billion of that was converted into common stock, which the Treasury can sell at any time.
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