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Weekly Bailout Update: $246 Billion out the Door

 Your weekly bailout bill update: The Treasury Department has approved 187 financial institutions to receive $246.2 billion so far. You can see our running tally here.

To give you an idea of the ranging size of the investments, $45 billion is the biggest investment (Citigroup) and $1.2 million (Saigon National Bank, a regional bank in California) the smallest. The average investment is $1.32 billion, but the vast majority of banks have gotten much less – the median investment is $52 million.

Treasury officials have said time and time again that the program is for "healthy banks," but there’s evidence lately that’s not always the case.

The Washington Post today singled out Central Pacific Financial, a Honolulu bank so hobbled by delinquent loans that federal regulators intervened to require the bank to raise more capital.

In the bank’s statement announcing Treasury’s approval of $135 million for the bank, it said that the government money would help to satisfy that requirement – in other words, taxpayer money will be used to help the bank stop the bleeding.

In a bit of circular reasoning, the bank’s CEO told the Post that the bank’s participation in a program meant for healthy banks was "a sign of confidence in our financial stability."

A bank analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, meanwhile, says that the move has "raised a lot of eyebrows."

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