Shore Bancshares Inc. of Easton, Md., returned its government capital this week.

The company said late Wednesday that it redeemed the $25 million of preferred shares it had issued to the Treasury Department through the Troubled Asset Relief Program in January. It also paid dividends of roughly $208,000.

W. Moorhead Vermilye, the $1 billion-asset Shore's president and chief executive officer, has said that it was exiting the program because of negative perceptions that put participants at a competitive disadvantage.

"The representation made by the Treasury concerning Tarp was that the program was designed to attract broad participation by healthy institutions, and that our participation in the program was important to restore confidence in our financial system and ensure that credit continue to be available to consumers and businesses," Vermilye said in a press release last month. "Over the past few months, however, it has become clear to us that the public, including many members of Congress, view institutions that participated in Tarp as having done so because they are weak, and not because they wanted to do their part to foster economic recovery."

Shore was the seventh company to repay the government, though more have said they plan to do so, including FirstMerit Corp. of Akron, Ohio.

The $11.1 billion-asset FirstMerit announced Thursday that it would repay the $125 million it received in January.

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