Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley have applied to repay a combined $45 billion of TARP funds, Bloomberg reports. The three banking giants must receive permission from the Fed before returning the money. The repayments would be the most substantial since Congress established the $700 billion program, and will allow the banks to escape restrictions on compensation and hiring.
Last month Tim Geithner said he would be happy for banks to repay TARP funds so long as regulators determined they had enough capital to keep lending. While Goldman and JPMorgan have been eager to repay the Treasury for months, Morgan Stanley has been more reluctant. Lawyers say that the banks should be cautious: they may face lawsuits if they repay the money too soon and then go back to the government for another handout.