NEW YORK (
) -- Should
rush to repay its loans under the Troubled Asset Relief Program? According to TheStreet users, that would be a splendid idea.
About 63% of those who voted in our weeklong poll on the matter said that it would be better for Citi to escape from under the government's thumb, while nearly 37% said it shouldn't make haste to pay back its debt.
There has been ongoing speculation that Citigroup is preparing an equity offer to shore up about $20 billion to repay the preferred securities it has under TARP. But if Citigroup is unable to come up with these funds within the next several days, it may have to wait until after reporting fourth quarter earnings.
Citigroup received $45 billion in three rounds of U.S. loans in 2008, giving the government control of about one-third of bank's common equity.
The argument for repaying the loans became even more apparent on Friday, after Obama administration's pay czar Kenneth Feinberg limited the cash compensation for executives at companies that received the largest bailouts at $500.000.
Also, according to Feinberg, the 25th through 100th top earners at Citi,
American International Group
also must receive more than half their compensation in stock, and at least half must be delayed for three or more years.
Opponents are worried that removing Citi from under the government's wing could be premature, and question how much dilution an equity offering would cause.
is also gauging interest for an equity offering to repay its $25 billion in bailout loans. It is looking to sell stock in $250 million and $500 million chunks, according to
The two feel increased pressure after
Bank of America
completed its TARP repayment of $45 billion earlier this week. Other TARP recipients, including
, repaid the government in June.
Shares of Citi rose by 2.1% to end the week at $3.95.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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