I've read a couple of those stories before, and if I understood them correctly, there was a little sensationalism in that total figure.
For instance, the 'peak borrowed' figure shows that even the worst off never owed more than around $110B at any given moment. Even if every bank owed that much all at once, there would had to have been 70 banks borrowing that much money all at the same time. There weren't. Only 6 banks even topped $75B at any given moment. So the way that $7.7T figure was derived was like this:
Bank A borrows $100B
Bank A repays $100B and reborrows $110B
Editor writes headline saying "Government loans $210B to save bank"
Yeah, it's sorta true... but not really. If you look here, I think the $1.2T figure
is more accurate of the single-largest amount loaned out at any given time. That's about $500B more than the TARP. Not really 'dwarfing' as that main article says.
I'm not saying this to say the banks were angels. Just some clarity on the headline and what it means.