Synovus Repays $968 Million in TARP Bailout Funds to Treasury

Synovus Financial Corp. repaid $968 million in bailout funds to the U.S. Treasury Department, extinguishing one of the biggest debts still owed by a commercial bank to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

More than two-thirds of the sum was generated internally, with the balance from common and preferred stock offerings totaling $315 million, the Columbus, Georgia-based company said today in a statement.

Synovus is one of hundreds of U.S. banks that took money from the $700 billion TARP fund as the financial system teetered near collapse in 2008. Chief Executive Officer Kessel Stelling led the lender to its first annual profit since 2007 last year as Synovus got rid of distressed assets and cut expenses.

“The events of the past week are huge for our company, including three ratings agency upgrades, two successful capital offerings, and now the exit from TARP,” Stelling said in the statement.

Synovus was little changed at $3.34 as of 1:07 p.m. in New York trading. The stock has gained 36 percent this year, beating the 30 percent return of the KBW Regional Bank Index. The bank has about $27 billion in assets and 280 offices in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee.

The biggest bailouts still owed to taxpayers include Ally Financial Inc., the Detroit-based car lender that accepted packages of aid valued at $17.2 billion. Ally is in a different program designed to support the automotive industry, said Adam Hodge, a Treasury spokesman.

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