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14th Bank Returns TARP Money

 On Friday, two more banks returned their TARP money: Alliance of Syracuse, N.Y., ($26.9 million) and Texas Capital of Dallas ($75 million). So far, 14 banks have returned a total of $1.3 billion, according to our running tally of refunds. As we've noted before, the returns started coming in soon after Congress passed new restrictions on compensation for top employees at the banks.

So far, only community and small regional banks have returned the money, but that seems likely to change soon. Under the "stress tests," nine banks were not required to raise additional capital. With the exception of MetLife, which never applied for TARP money, all of those banks have taken concrete steps to return their bailout money, either by raising debt without government support or through an equity offering. The largest of those are JPMorgan ($25 billion) and Goldman Sachs ($10 billion). Altogether, Treasury invested $56.7 billion in those eight banks.

Despite the eagerness of those banks to return the money (and be free of the compensation restrictions, which affect the 25 highest-compensated employees at the biggest banks), it's still unclear when Treasury might approve the moves.

Three smaller banks that have taken similar steps toward returning the money: Northern Trust ($1.6 billion), California's City National ($400 million), and SCBT ($64.8 million), which boasts that it is the only bank headquartered in South Carolina to apply to return its bailout money.

Right now, about $111 billion of the TARP money is still uncommitted, according to our tally. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has often indicated that he intends to use the returned money (which might boost the uncommitted TARP funds to nearly $170 billion), and Treasury officials are reportedly busy hatching new plans.

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