December 18, 2012 / 6:16 AM / in 5 years

U.S. Treasury plans to sell bulk of TARP stakes - WSJ

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury plans to sell off its shares in about two-thirds of the remaining banks that took government bailout money during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the plans.

The Treasury hopes next year to clear out its portfolio of banks that took bailout funds, including dozens of institutions that have missed making dividend payments owed to the government, the Journal said. The government still owns stakes in 218 banks.

TARP bank programs in 2013 “will be substantially wound down,” the person told the paper. “There might still be some positions especially in banks can repay but need a little time to do so,” the person said. ()

The Treasury could as soon as Tuesday announce that it will sell the shares it holds in 50 institutions, some of which have missed dividend payments, the Journal said, citing a person with knowledge of the process.

The remaining institutions are expected to pay back or restructure investments dating to the 2008 financial crisis, though that part of the process may take longer, the paper said.

In total, these banks owe about $7.5 billion.

The U.S. Treasury could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

Over the years, the U.S. Treasury has been liquidating its stakes in banks - including Bank of America and Citigroup <C. n> - that received assistance through the financial bailout program, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

More than 90 percent ($380 billion) of the $418 billion disbursed for TARP has already been recovered to date through repayments and other income.

Last week, the Treasury said it had completed its final sale of common stock in American International Group, reducing its shares in the insurer to zero four years after a massive government bailout.

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