See here for a range of views (including Simon’s). On balance, the government owns some shares – and it twisted some arms to get them – but the percentages are pretty low, it has no voting rights, the conditions are pretty light (basically just the limits on executive compensation), and the bottom line is that the banks got a pretty good deal relative to what they might have hoped for from private investors. Some will no doubt complain of socialism, but these investments give the government limited if any influence over bank operations.

Of course, the government still has the power of regulation, which most people expect (and hope) will be greatly strengthened.