Bailout Programs Will Shrink

Smooth sailing from here on out? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Thursday that the financial system no longer needs such "extraordinary support" from the government programs created after last September's collapse of Lehman Brothers. Citing evidence of a growing economy and the falling cost of credit, Geithner said special loan and guarantee programs will be scaled back, and, in a separate announcement, Treasury officials said they expected financial institutions to repay an additional $50 billion over the next 12 to 18 months. (So far, $70 billion has been repaid.) Though many programs will stick around for a long time, several special loan programs will end or be smaller than previously expected. But despite Geithner's positive tone, the Congressional Oversight Panel cautioned that many big problems remain.