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SAN FRANCISCO-Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday afternoon it has repaid the $25 million in bailout funds provided by the Treasury Department under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Specifically, the company said it redeemed the series D preferred stock issued under the program in October of last year and paid accrued dividends of $131.9 million. The company had paid $1.44 billion in dividends to the Treasury Department since the stock was issued.

Approximately half of the $25 billion was raised last week through a public stock offering. The bank sold 489.9 million shares of common stock at $25 per share. The bank says the Treasury Department continues to hold warrants to buy approximately 110 million shares of its common stock at $34.01 per share. The company’s current share price is about 27% below that mark. Shares were trading at around $27 in early afternoon trading on Thursday, up $0.21 on the day after falling $0.32 behind earlier in the day.

The number of financial companies failing to pay dividends on the TARP money they have received grew to 55 in November, up from 33 in August, according to a Reuters story Wednesday citing an analysis of government data by the bank research firm SNL. Only one of the 33 companies from August made its November payment. The number of companies having missed at least three consecutive dividend payments is now at 12, according to the article. US regulators have closed 140 banks this year, the most since 1992. The dividend rate is 5% per year in four equal payments. The government has said it expects to lose money from its TARP program.

The Treasury Department is now considering proposals to aid smaller community banks with a TARP-styled bailout, according to news accounts. For that story, click here.

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