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CIT TARP Wipeout is Official

The U.S. Treasury has officially lost its entire $2.33 billion TARP investment in CIT Group, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Author:

Updated to include latest share price, response from Treasury Department.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- The U.S. Treasury has officially lost its entire $2.33 billion TARP investment in

CIT Group

(CIT) - Get Report

, according to a company

filing

with the Securities and Exchange Commission after Monday's closing bell.

The Treasury made the investment in CIT in December 2008, but CIT then ran into trouble after the

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

refused to guarantee its debt, as the FDIC did for larger lenders, including

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and large banks like

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

and

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

. CIT ended up filing for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 1 but was able to reorganize and return to a public listing on Dec. 10.

Contrary to what many assumed, the bankruptcy filing did not extinguish all hope for a taxpayer recovery. The Treasury and other preferred shareholders received complex securities called contingent value rights (CVRs) which could have been worth something if CIT Group's stock had reached the mid-50s ahead of Monday's session,

according to the estimate of another investor who held CVRs.

CIT Group is the largest loss on record under the TARP, though

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AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

General Motors

,

GMAC

,

Fannie Mae

,

Freddie Mac

,

Chrysler

and Citigroup each owe the Treasury at least $10 billion each, according to

ProPublica.

Linus Wilson, a University of Louisiana professor who has kept a close critical watch on the bailout, just hopes the Treasury has learned its lesson on CIT, should the lender run into trouble again under its new boss, former

NYSE Euronext

(NYX)

and

Merrill Lynch

chief John Thain.

"Taxpayers have already been burned once propping up CIT Group. Hopefully, they will not be forced to do that by misguided Treasury officials again. One thing we learned from the first Chapter 11 filing of CIT Group was that its bankruptcy was a non-event for the markets," Wilson wrote via email.

A spokesperson for the Treasury declined comment for this article.

CIT shares rose 14 cents to $30.75 in recent trades. Based on Monday's close at $30.61, the stock was up nearly 11% so far in 2010.

--

Written by Dan Freed in New York

.