Banks eager to pay back TARP loans

For relatively strong banks, doing business with the government may be more trouble than it's worth.

Banks are publicly declaring their intent to pay back loans from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, as quickly as they can. They range from Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp., which is the country's biggest bank, to tiny Iberiabank Corp. in Lafayette, La.

The banks complain about the rules that the U.S. Treasury keeps imposing on them retroactively, sometimes in ways that seem arbitrary or driven by constituents' anger.

Some say they never needed the money but were cajoled into taking it by the Treasury, which wanted a show of industry support for its program.

Others say they're dismayed by the public's outrage toward banks that participate in TARP, which was originally touted as a reward of sorts for healthy banks.

To be sure, the government has always had regulatory power over the banks. But at the companies where it's now a major shareholder, its grip is getting significantly tighter as it gets involved in decisions about everything from corporate jets to mortgage modifications.

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