GAO: Bailed-out Banks Paying Dividends

On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office released its latest report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Like everything the GAO puts out, the report is long and wonky, but to summarize, the GAO thinks the Treasury is a bit disorganized: It hasn’t hired asset managers to oversee bailout repayment agreements and needs a better communication strategy “should it need additional funding” for TARP.

This is hardly surprising considering it was just last week that President Obama moved to fill the high-level vacancies at the Treasury. But it’s hard to see why the Treasury wasn’t on top of filling those spots sooner: the pool of available asset managers certainly hasn’t run dry.

The most interesting nugget of information comes later in the report, where the GAO notes TARP recipients have paid the Treasury $2.9 billion in dividends through March 30. Around $2.5 billion of that was paid by banks that gave the government preferred stock in exchange for bailout funds—the exchange otherwise known as the Capital Purchase Program. The Treasury has paid out $199 billion in CPP funds so far, so the government has recouped 1.25 percent of its money in the last six months.