Healthy banks may be allowed to pay back TARP - but at what cost?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled this morning in a New York Times op-ed that he will allow banks that pass the stress tests to pay back the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) money that Hank Paulson forced on them.

There's just one more test they'll need to pass -- a debt stress test, about which I posted yesterday. This means that Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) may soon pull way ahead of their peers, and that could help accelerate the demise of those laggards.