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Treasury Officials Tout 'Success' of TARP, for the First Time Making a Profit

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The much-maligned TARP program moved into the black on Wednesday. On Thursday, Treasury officials touted the success of the program, for the first time making profit.
“We made the investments to prevent the collapse of the system,” Tim Massad, acting assistant secretary for Financial Stability, said while meeting with White House reporters in a pen-and-pad off-camera briefing Thursday. “The fact that the investments in the banks will yield a profit is a terrific benefit to shareholders.”

A total of $245 billion total was invested in the bank support program. The new repayments this week have brought the total to $251 billion returned to Treasury this week (plus some income).

“That means every further repayment we get increased the net gain to the taxpayer from the bank piece of the program,” Massad said.

And there’s still some money to get back -- still outstanding is $23 billion “face amount” of investments, mostly in smaller banks. The administration estimates overall profits on the bank program to be $20 billion, as they will continue to collect repayments.

The message to Americans? It was terrible but it won’t happen again.

“It’s terrible we had to do this,” Massad said, “it's never fair to have to use taxpayer dollars to rescue any institution. And that is why we have now reformed out regulatory system with the passage of Dodd-Frank. That gives us the tools to avoid ever having to do this again.”

Asked about former SIGTARP Neil Barofsky saying that TARP was actually a failure because it neglected to accomplish its original goal of helping homeowners on Main Street, Massad said they have more work to do.

“The message is we’re still committed to helping as many people as possible. We still have almost two years under which we can provide assistance under the HAMP program. And everyday we’re trying to help as many people as we can.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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