The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Remember TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program? Since its inception, 742 banks have gained "relief."
Under TARP, a bank gets funds in return for preferred shares and a dividend that goes from 5% to 9% after four years.
A banker told me that TARP money is expensive and unnecessary: "I can get Home Loan Bank funds for less." And most banks that still have TARP money got it in late 2008. That means the dividend (really an interest payment) will shortly be 9%. That is really expensive money!