The Troubled Asset Relief Program known as TARP was signed into law by former President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. The goal of the program was to provide an immediate infusion of taxpayer dollars to beleaguered banks, financial institutions, lenders and other organizations (such as the automakers) who were impacted by the freezing credit market caused by the mortgage crisis. To date, the government made available more than $621 billion in TARP loans or direct investments, nearly 40% of which was directed to troubled banks and financial institutions. The government has recovered 111% or $693 billion of those monies made available.

There were, however, 123 banks that decided not to take any money from TARP. These banks represent one-fifth of the major banks whose banking practices and conservative nature protected their depositors during the financial crisis and make them great banks you may have never heard of.

Four Great Banks You’ve Never Heard Of:

  • Hudson City Bancorp
  • People’s United Financial
  • First Bank Holding
  • Provident Financial Services

Hudson City Bancorp

Hudson City Bancorp was the holding company for the Hudson City Savings Bank located in Paramus, New Jersey. Founded in 1868, the bank provided traditional banking services through 135 branch locations in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

The bank through prudent lending standards and a conservative approach toward the management of its mortgage portfolio helped Hudson avoid the the problem created by exotic derivatives, which caused the subprime lending mortgage crisis. Hudson agreed to be purchased by M&T Bank in 2012. The transaction, which completed in 2015, merged the $17 billion in assets of Hudson with M&T Bank Corp.


  • 148-year old banking institution founded in Paramus, New Jersey
  • Engaged in prudent lending practices and avoided the subprime lending crisis
  • Agreed to buyout offer from M&T Bank in 2012

People’s United Financial, Inc.

Founded in 1842, People’s United is a 174-year old bank holding company based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The bank operates in more than 400 locations primarily in the Northeast as a regional bank, doing business in the states of New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in addition to Connecticut. People’s United with 39 billion in assets is also one of those major banks that through its conservative lending practices avoided the downturn of the financial meltdown and able to resist accepting $1 of TARP dollars.

The healthy balance sheet and financial position of People’s United Financial allowed it to enter into a recent merger with Suffolk Bancorp in a 2.25-to-1 People’s to Suffolk share swap. The merger, expected to be completed by the end of 2016, will help strengthen its position in New York through the acquisition of Suffolk’s 28 New York banking branches.


  • Founded in 1842
  • More than 39 billion in assets
  • Merger with Suffolk Bancorp of Riverhead, NY to be completed by Q4 2016

First Bank Holding

First Bank Holding is a Lakewood, Colorado-based bank that was founded in 1963. The bank, in its 53-year history, has created 122 branches throughout Colorado as well as Arizona and California. First Bank Holding operates under the brand of 1stBank and is Colorado’s largest local bank. It is also number two in deposits as of 2014. The bank, which did not participate in the TARP program, reported earnings as of December 31, 2014, of $75 million and a growth in assets of 8.6% to $14.5 billion. The company also reported a growth in its deposits in 2014 by 8% to $13 billion and also a 10.5% increase in its loan portfolio.


  • First Bank Holding was founded in 1963
  • Second largest deposit institution in Colorado
  • Branded 1stBank, the bank has assets (2014) of $14.5 billion

Provident Financial Services, Inc.

Provident Financial Services, Inc., which operates Provident Bank of New Jersey, is a 177-year old financial institution based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Founded in 1839, Provident has more than $7.28 billion in assets. Provident Financial provides banking services within central and northern New Jersey and also operates in the Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Northampton, and Lehigh. Provident Financial also provides to its customers fiduciary services including wealth management through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company, a registered investment advisor.


  • Provident Financial Services, Inc. has been in banking since 1963
  • Provident operates in New Jersey and select Pennsylvania counties
  • Provident’s wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company, provides fiduciary and wealth management services


A few top banks tend to grab all the headlines, but some lesser-known banks provide excellent services. The four banks we’ve outlined in this article are just some of the top banks you could be doing business with.