5 of 6 N.H. banks pay back TARP money, along with interest

Five of the six New Hampshire banks "bailed out" through the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program have paid back the government in full — and then some, according to "Eye on the Bailout," a report by ProPublica, an investigative journalism website.

The only exception is Monadnock Community Bank, which still has an outstanding balance. But the Peterborough-based bank is obligated to pay back the TARP funds in order to complete its pending merger with GFA Federal Credit Union, based in Gardner, Mass.

All told, six New Hampshire-based banks received a total of $40.8 million in TARP funds at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, when the financial crisis was in full swing, according to the ProPublica database. Five have since paid the Treasury back, leaving Uncle Sam with a $5.9 million profit — about a 14.4 percent return on investment in four years.

Monadnock, however, still owes about $1.6 million of the $1.8 million it received, according to ProPublica. The bank had paid back $191,000 in six payments, according to the database, but the last one made was on Nov. 15, 2010, ProPublica said.

According to the website, the five New Hampshire banks borrowing and paying back federal money were:• New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares (Lake Sunapee Bank), Newport, borrowed and paid back $10 million, plus interest totaling $2,041,266
• Northway Financial Corp., Berlin, $10 million borrowed and paid back, plus $1,930,625 in interest
• Centrix Bank & Trust, Bedford, $7.5 million, borrowed and paid back, plus $1,387,792 in interest• Guaranty Bancorp (Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank), borrowed and paid back $6,920,000, plus $1,315,040 in interest
• First Colebrook Bancorp, borrowed and paid back $4.5 million, plus $839,489 in interest

According to the website, Monadnock Bancorp, borrowed $1,834,000 and still owes $1,643,483.ProPublica told NHBR that its data is up to date.

ProPublica doesn't list Monadnock as a bank that has "failed to repay the government and resulted in a loss." Instead, it is listed it as an investment that "might still be repaid."

Calls to Monadnock were not returned by deadline, but in a late May press release, the bank indicated that it still owed some TARP money, saying that repayment of the money was one of the conditions of its $6.4 million sale to GFA. That deal is expected to close by the end of the year.New Hampshire banks are doing better than the nation as a whole. The Treasury divvied up $604 billion in bailout money to banks and other financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the auto industry, the AIG insurance company and various toxic asset purchases. So far it has gotten back $406 billion, according to ProPublica.


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