TARP wasn’t a “calculated gamble.” Banks were instructed to collectively participate. The purpose of the act and the intervention was to motivate banks and other participants in the credit markets to lend to each other. Without daily interbank lending, the financial world ends.

The banks that are being allowed to pay the money back have demonstrated a satisfactory degree of financial fitness to Treasury. More importantly, Treasury feels that the actual provision of taxpayer capital is no longer necessary for the financial system to function. All 10 of these banks paid big dividends on preferred equity right to Treasury in addition to principal – 9 remain, and repayment from those institutions is also likely. TARP looks like a huge success, unpopular as it was.