Latest audit of TARP financials shows estimated lifetime cost of $32.4 billion (after recoveries)

A final cost of $32.4 billion is estimated for the fund that was established in 2008 to help prevent the U.S. financial system’s collapse as the financial crisis reached its zenith, the congressional watchdog said in an audit report release Friday.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its report that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), as of Sept. 30, had spent $442.2 billion to shore up troubled financial institutions in the wake of the financial crisis. Congress originally authorized the fund to spend $700 billion.

However, with recoveries, TARP is now estimated to cost $32.4 billion, the GAO report said. That “lifetime estimated cost” is up slightly from 2018, which was $32.3 billion (which was also the estimated cost in 2017). However, the 2019 cost is well below that of 10 years prior, when the final cost was estimated to be $124.1 billion, according to the financial statements.

The report is based on the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability (OFS) fiscal year (FY) 2019 and FY 2018 financial statements for TARP. The GAO said its audit of TARP found that the statements were reliable and that controls over financial reporting were effective. The OFS is required to submit its annual financial statements to Congress and to make the statements public; the GAO is required to audit the statements.

GAO Financial Audit: Office of Financial Stability (Troubled Asset Relief Program) FY 2019 and FY 2018 Financial Statements