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Regions puts $3.5 billion TARP debt behind it

Just days after closing its sale of investment brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co. to Raymond James, Regions Financial Corp. has paid its $3.5 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, debt.

Regions, Mississippi’s market leader in retail banking, said in a press statement Wednesday that it repurchased $3.5 billion of Series A Preferred Stock issued under the U.S. Treasury’s Asset Relief Program. In addition to fully repaying the government’s investment, Regions has previously paid a total of $593 million in dividends.

On an annual ongoing basis, the repurchase eliminates the payment of $175 million in dividends on these securities, said the $127 billion Birmingham-based banking and financial services company.

The repurchase follows Regions’ completion of a $900 million common equity offering and the completion of its sale of Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. and related affiliates resulting in total proceeds of approximately $1.2 billion to Regions.

Regions’ shares at mid day Wednesday traded at $6.45, down from a high of $6.61 for the day. Its shares have a 52-week low of $2.82 and high of $7.45.

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