Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley applied to repay the combined $45 billion they received in October from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, said people familiar with the matter.

The three New York banking companies need approval from the Federal Reserve, their primary supervisor, to return the money, according to the people, who requested anonymity because the application process is not public. Spokesmen for all three companies declined to comment, as did Calvin Mitchell, a spokesman for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

If approved, the repayments would be the biggest yet to the $700 billion Tarp program established by Congress last year. Banks ar keen to repay the money to shake off restrictions on compensation and hiring that were imposed on Tarp recipients in February.

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.