I have heard similar stories that many banks have already paid back their loans. Many banks may have not needed the bail out money to begin with. I also heard that banks were forced to take the money from the government whether they needed it or not. Control of the banks by the feds may or may not have been a motivating factor.
Just as Bank of America, CitiBank and Wells Fargo get in position to pay back the U.S. Treasury for the investments they received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Treasury has released a detailed report on TARP's progress. Overall, it amounted to good news because the program will cost taxpayers much less than originally anticipated.
To recap events: TARP invested public money in U.S. financial institutions to help those institutions restore their balance sheets while they work through the impacts of the financial crisis that exploded last Fall. This program and other government initiatives seem to have had the intended effect, averting a financial panic and keeping banks open and operational. Indeed, according to the report the funds reserved ($700 billion) will not all be used as originally intended, because the investments made by the Treasury on behalf of the taxpayer to keep our banks open are actually generating a bit of a return.The negative impact on the national debt may end up being be less than $300 billion. This is still a huge chunk of change, but saving about $400 billion off of the original estimate looks good at this point. Of course, the riskier TARP "investments" of about $160 billion in such outfits as AIG and the car companies are far less likely to get paid back, and would form the bulk of the loss that TARP could incur.