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!
And we think the banking crisis is behind us? Think again. There are still 382 banks that have made no repayments on TARP money as yet. The top 20 in terms of TARP funds outstanding are given in table below. In addition to these banks, there are 13 that have made partial repayments. These banks are listed in the following table. I repeat the question posed earlier: Is the bank crisis behind us? With more than 50% of the banks that took TARP money still owing the U.S. Treasury nearly $17 billion, the answer is no. A bank that is paying 9% for its money is not a healthy bank.