Where is all that TARP money going? Did your bank take a cut of the billions in bailout dollars authorized by Congress last fall under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP)?

Public interest group ProPublica is keeping a list of banks that took TARP money. What’s surprising about the list is not how much money the big banks have already received under TARP, but just how many small banks are on the list, too. That said, here’s a breakdown of what the top 10 TARP money recipient banks have taken:

  1. Citigroup (NY): $45 billion
  2. AIG (NY): $40 billion
  3. JPMorgan Chase (NY): $25 billion
  4. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (NC): $25 billion
  5. Wells Fargo (CA): $25 billion
  6. General Motors (MI): $14 billion
  7. Goldman Sachs (NY): $10 billion
  8. Morgan Stanley (NY): $10 billion
  9. PNC Financial Services (PA): $7.58 billion
  10. U.S. Bancorp (MN): $6.6 billion

So, a lot of banks have taken money. But what are they doing with it? A few, including Bank of America and GMAC, the lending branch of General Motors, have pledged to use TARP money to make new business and consumer loans. Personally, I’m of the philosophy that the answer to a problem caused by debt is not more debt, but economists making these decisions presumably know better than I–or do they?

What do you think? What should banks be doing with this money?