Companies taking TARP funds can't pay their executives more than $500,000 per year going forward. The White House is coupling this restriction with tough new transparency rules.

According to a White House official, companies who've taken TARP investments have to readjust their agreements on executive pay and transparency. Compensation over $500,000 turns into restricted stock that can't be touched until all the money has been paid back to the Treasury.

On transparency: there'll be new restrictions on golden parachutes and "say on pay" policies, and on expenses like "aviation services, office renovations, entertainment and holiday parties, conferences and events, and golden parachutes."

These reforms, the White House says, are but step one in long series of projected changes to the financial markets and its regulations.