The bank bailout of 2008, officially called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was an attempt by the federal government to prevent a meltdown of some of the largest financial institutions in the United States in 2008 and early 2009.
But two years after President George W. Bush signed the bank bailout into law, the U.S. Treasury said the financial impact on taxpayers would be far less severe than originally thought.
"We now have recovered most of the investments we made in the banks," the Treasury's Office of Financial Stability wrote in October 2010.
"Taxpayers will likely earn a profit on the investments the government made in banks and AIG, with TARP losses limited to investments in the automobile industry and housing programs. And we have already returned hundreds of billions of unused authority to the taxpayer to help reduce our debt and future budget deficits.
"Because of the success of the program, TARP will likely cost a fraction of this amount," the agency reported.
The total cost of the bank bailout?
The Treasury estimated taxpayers would be out $51 billion -- or only $29 billion when interest is repaid to the government by the once-troubled insurance giant American Insurance Group.
Specifically, losses from the bank bailout are expected to be $17 billion in investments in General Motors, Chrysler and the auto finance companies, and $46 billion in the Home Affordable Modification Program, a mortgage modification program.