Fifty-five financial companies failed to pay dividends in November on money they borrowed from the U.S. government, bank research firm SNL said on Wednesday.
That number swelled from 33 companies that missed an August payment on government funds, according to an SNL analysis of government data.
The rising dividend deferrals signal that even as some banks are deemed healthy enough to repay the United States -- Wells Fargo & Co
U.S. regulators have closed 140 banks this year, the most since 1992, as a real estate downturn and broader credit crunch have hobbled many banks' balance sheets.
Twelve companies have missed at least three consecutive payments of dividends on funds borrowed under the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, SNL said.
The research firm said only one -- Connecticut Bank and Trust Co
SNL said one company that had missed a TARP dividend payment in August -- Commerce National Bank -- repaid in October the full amount of the bailout funds it had received.
The 55 companies that missed payments received around $5.06 billion in funding under TARP, equal to 3.8 percent of the total funds spent under TARP's capital purchase program as of November 18.
The government has said it expects to lose money from its TARP program.
TARP recipients are required to pay a dividend rate of 5 percent per year for the first five years, usually in four payments per year.
Under the program, the failure to pay dividends for six dividend periods triggers the Treasury's right to elect two directors to the institution's board, SNL said. The next TARP dividend payment date is scheduled for February 16.
The largest company to miss the latest TARP dividend payment was New York-based CIT Group Inc
(Reporting by Juan Lagorio, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)