Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

TARP deadbeat list hits 142: update

March 16, 2011: 12:03 PM ET

The TARP deadbeat list continues to grow.

The number of banks missing scheduled quarterly dividend payments to the government hit 142 last month, according to the latest Treasury report on the subject. That's up from 123 in November, 115 in August and 91 in May, SNL Financial said.

Troubled indeed

The delinquent banks have $3.7 billion of government loans outstanding, SNL said. The list of the late banks is available from Treasury here, starting on page 18.

The ranks of the deadbeats swell even further if you consider banks that had government loans and failed, among other things.* Adding in those banks, the number of deadbeats hit 164 in the latest accounting, said Linus Wilson, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Louisiana Lafayatte.

He estimates that a quarter of banks with Troubled Asset Relief Program loans outstanding are now late on their dividend payments – which is alarming because missing a dividend is a sign of a bank's ill health.

The prospect that some of the deadbeats will fall further behind and eventually fail is a shadow over the TARP program, which generally has performed much better than expected in spite of the considerable stigma associated with it.

Treasury says, for instance, that of the $245 billion it lent to banks under the Capital Purchase Program starting in late 2008, Treasury has received $211 billion in loan repayments and $32 billion in income (dividends, warrant sales and, mostly in the case of Citigroup (C), sales of appreciated stock).

That said, the late banks are generally very small and their missed dividends don't amount to much in the scope of a program as large as TARP. The delinquents are behind on $204 million in required dividends, Treasury said – which amounts to 0.1% of Treasury loans to banks under the Capital Purchase Program.

*Update: Wilson explains the difference between his figure and SNL's this way:

 The SNL 142 list excludes:

7 banks that failed

9 banks in the CPP missing subordinated debt interest

2 banks in the CDCI that missed dividends

1 bank in the CDCI that missed preferred stock dividends

3 banks that restructured their investments after they missed the February 15 dividends but prior to March 16

Total February deadbeats missing from the SNL number = 22

 

CPP = TARP's Capital Purchase Program

CDCI = TARP's Community Development Capital Initiative

 

Thus, my number of 164 TARP deadbeats (142+22=164) in February only counts the most recent TARP payment skippers.

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Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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