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SunTrust repays TARP

Photo by Sharra Klug

Photo by Sharra Klug

SunTrust Banks said it has repaid the government the nearly $5 billion in aid it received during the financial crisis.

Atlanta-based SunTrust had been the largest of major banks that hadn't repaid its Troubled Asset Relief Fund assistance. The U.S. Treasury said SunTrust's payment helped bring the program to prop up banks into the black.

Two other U.S. banks also announced Wednesday they repaid government bailouts, and Treasury said its $245 billion in crisis aid to nation's banks has now turned a profit of $6 billion, including interest and dividends.

TARP as a whole stretches beyond banks, including aid to insurance giant AIG, General Motors and Chrysler.

SunTrust announced its plan to repay taxpayers March 18 after a second round of stress tests for the nation's 19 biggest banks. It conducted a $1.04 billion stock sale that day and later issued $1 billion in new senior debt.

SunTrust has turned a profit the past two quarters after nearly two years of losses.

Jim Wheeler, a banking attorney with Morris Manning & Martin in Atlanta, said "[SunTrust's] repayment is hopefully a good sign of Southeastern recovery and a harbinger for repayment by other Georgia TARP recipients."

About two dozen Georgia banks, including Columbus-based Synovus Financial, have yet to repay TARP money.