Popular Inc. (BPOP) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has received regulatory approval to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The $26.6 billion-asset company said late Wednesday that it had been cleared to repay $935 million to the Treasury Department. Popular, the largest banking company still in Tarp, received its funds in December 2008. The company in August 2009 exchanged the preferred stock it issued the Treasury at that time for trust capital securities.

Popular said it plans to repay the Tarp funds with internal liquidity and an issuance of about $400 million of debt securities. The company said it also plans to buy back the warrant it issued the Treasury as part of the Tarp.

The company said that, upon redemption of the junior subordinated debentures, it expects to record a noncash charge to earnings for the unamortized portion of the discount associated with the debt. At March 31, the debt had a balance of $414.3 million.

Popular in April agreed to sell its banking operations in California, Illinois and central Florida to three different buyers.

Popular's exit would make First BanCorp (FBP), also in Puerto Rico, the biggest bank left in Tarp. First BanCorp has $239 million in funds from the program.


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