WSFS exits federal TARP program


WSFS Financial has exited the Troubled Asset Relief Capital Purchase Program (TARP).

The WSFS board, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, approved a move to repurchase a warrant from the government for $1.8 million marking the formal exit from the program aimed at shoring up financial institutions after the financial crisis of 2008.

In April, the Treasury Department sold preferred shares in WSFS stock for $52.6 million to private investors in a public offering.

The shares were issued in return for boosting the capital of the Wilmington-based company that operates Wilmington Savings Funds Society, one of Delaware’s largest banks.

WSFS fared well during the crisis and the recession that followed. It has been adding offices and staff.

WSFS can buy the shares from private investors, but would have to receive approval from the Department of the Treasury.

Earlier, M&T Bank exited the TARP program, after buying stock that had been issued to Wilmington Trust.

M&T purchased Wilmington Trust after the bank and financial services company struggled with bad loans, mainly in real estate projects in southern Delaware.

Earlier this year, WSFS CEO Mark Turner told analysts and others following its stock that the company was focusing on growing its financial services business that includes banking in Delaware and nearby areas and its growing investment and trust operation.

According to an American Banker story, Turner said WSFS has the resources to buy back the stock from investors, but wants to do it in a way that is friendly to its shareholders. Turner stressed that buying back the former TARP shares remains a high priority.

The Treasury Department has been touting the success of TARP and now believes it will be able to recoup funds that were injected into insurance giant AIG. Delaware operations of AIG are now owned by MetLife and Farmers.

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