WASHINGTON — Healthy banks were strong-armed into participating in a $700 billion federal bailout of ailing financial firms, BB&T Corp. chairman John Allison said in a speech late Thursday to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

BB&T is one of 10 banks poised to return funds received through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or Tarp, a gesture that produced a standing ovation for Allison from the libertarian audience.

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