The Handout Handback

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What big bank is telling the Treasury you can keep your money? TCF Financial Corp. received $361 million in TARP funds but now is giving it back. Why? Bill Cooper, the Chairman and CEO of TCF Financial Corporation joins us from Minneapolis.

Bill, it's nice to see you, and what is wrong with $361 million? Most people like to keep that money.


TCF never really needed the money in the first place. The regulators suggested that we take it, and strongly suggested it, and they said that the money was only going to go to strong banks.

And subsequently, the deal has kind of changed in connection with the regulations and so forth, the rules they want to apply to companies that take the TARP money. And there are a lot of reasons why it does not work for us.

We do not need it. We don't need those additional rules and regulations.

And the public perception now is that those banks, those TARP banks are kind of shady characters that are kind of criminally taking money from the government, and we do not need that image. We haven't done it. We never did any of the subprime lending or all the other kind of things that people do. We have had 50 consecutive quarters of regular earnings.

So we will give it back and let them give it to somebody who needs it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, I was hard on another bank, Northern Trust, because it took some money and then had a big, fancy party. And they said we never meant to take the money. We didn't need it. It was forced on us.

Talking to you, was money almost forced on the banks? Explain that to me.

COOPER: In the banking business, when a regulator makes a suggestion, they say "jump" and you say, "How high?" And it was put to us that only the strong banks were going to get this money and it was going to be for the good of the economy so that you would be able to lever that money and make loans to customers and so forth.

Watch Greta's interview

And it then kind of turned around to be, "Gee, you took this money. It is bailout money. They gave it to you." TCF did not engage in that stuff. None of our guys got any bonuses. I don't even take a salary or a bonus.

And we never engages in any shady things. We bring people's deposits in our 450 branches and make loans to customers who can pay you back. And so that is the way we do business.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of the $361 million, have you contacted them and told them that it is coming back? How do you do this?

COOPER: Yes, we filed with it. There is a number where you file and tell them we want to pay the money back. The stimulus bill contained a provision that permits you to do this, and they have to consult then with the regulators, your primary regulator, to determine whether if it is prudent that you pay it back, that you have enough capital and good operations, and so forth, that you could pay it back. And I am confident that they will find that is the case with us. We--

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you, how long will it take before you can actually give it back?

COOPER: I'm sorry.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long before they will let you give the money back?

COOPER: Well, there is a 30-day notice on it. We filed that 30-day notice in the terms of the document itself, and I suspect we will get an answer from them within that 30-day period, which for us will be April 1, April Fool's Day.

VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, thank you, and now I understand it a little bit better now. So thank you, Bill.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

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