NEW YORK (
(C - Get Report) won't gain much from paying back the government now, while
(WFC - Get Report) and regional banks including
(CMA - Get Report) are in a good position to do so.
Should Citigroup Rush to Repay TARP?
The following table comprises the 10 largest banks that haven't yet arranged for repayment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, excluding
Bank of America
(BAC - Get Report), which raised more than $19 billion in common equity last week.
Bank of America owes the government $45 billion.
Regulators are most concerned about TARP banks' tangible common equity ratio because that measure of capital strength excludes preferred shares, including those held by the government. (Banks have a set of regulatory capital ratios that have to be met to be considered well-capitalized under normal circumstances.)
Citigroup will stay on the dole
Citigroup has converted $25 billion in government-held preferred shares, along with $33 billion in publicly held convertible shares, into common stock, diluting shareholders and leaving the government with a 34% stake of the common stock.
Citigroup still owes another $20 billion in TARP money, represented by trust-preferred shares issued to the government with a hefty 8% coupon. Another $7 billion is owed to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury for the government's loss-sharing guarantees, also represented by trust-preferreds paying 8%.
Citigroup would be hard-pressed to raise as much as $20 billion to pay off Uncle Sam. It would be tough for investors to swallow another major dilution but, more importantly, paying off TARP wouldn't allow the company to escape the stigma of government intervention, as loss-sharing guarantees from the FDIC, Federal Reserve and the Treasury covered $250 billion of Citigroup's assets as of Sept. 30.