Survey: TARP driving 8.5 percent profit

American Express and Goldman Sachs ranked among the top five most profitable investments for taxpayers, according to SNL Financial, a market research firm that released the survey.

The survey looked at 49 companies that have repaid money and fully exited the $700 billion financial bailout Congress passed in 2008 in the thick of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Treasury Department said Friday the government had been repaid $181 billion from the program, and predicted that the bailout would be a net profit to taxpayers. The profits stem from early repayments, stock sales, dividends and warrants issued under the bailout.

Here are the five most profitable returns, according to SNL:

1. Centra Financial Holdings - 26.2 percent

2. First ULB Corp - 26 percent

3. American Express - 23.3 percent

4. Goldman Sachs - 20 percent

5. First Manitowoc Bancorp - 19.5 percent