WASHINGTON — The US Treasury said Thursday it had recovered nearly $900 million during the first six months of the year in taxpayer money used to bail out the banking system during the financial crisis.

The Treasury said it had received more than $886 million by June 30 from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, through the sale of warrants it had taken in rescued banks.

"Although the central purpose of TARP was to help stabilize the financial markets during a time of severe crisis, the receipt of these funds is positive news for taxpayers," Tim Massad, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial stability, said in a statement.

"We will continue our diligent efforts to protect taxpayer interests as we wind down the TARP program," he said.

Since the creation of TARP in October 2008, the Treasury said it has received more than $9 billion from the sale of warrants.

"As a result of these dispositions and other TARP repayments and income, taxpayers have now recovered $314 billion (76 percent) compared to the $413 billion disbursed to date for the program," the Treasury said.

TARP was launched following the September 2010 bankruptcy of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers, which sent financial markets plunging.

Under the program, the Treasury invested capital in banks nationwide in a bid to shore up the financial system.