WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department's recent auction of preferred shares in six banks may signal that the agency has finally found a path to end its bank investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Although the largest institutions have long repaid Treasury's investments during the financial crisis, 348 — mostly small — institutions still owe Treasury $12 billion, and it's been unclear how the agency plans to recoup its money.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.