Business
11:08 am
Wed June 10, 2009

Bailout overseer: Bank repayments sign of progress

WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of a congressional panel overseeing the federal financial system bailout fund says Washington initially underestimated how much banks in America were struggling to stay afloat.

Elizabeth Warren says the approval of a repayment to the government of $68 billion by several of the banks receiving taxpayer assistance amounts to "phase two of the economic recovery" in the system.

But at the same time, Warren said in an interview on CBS's "The Early Show," that then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last year erroneously proclaimed banks to be stable when the government initially put some $350 billion into these institutions.

She said that Paulson at the time said "they were all healthy banks. ... It just really turned out not to be the case."

Warren said she believes the government now is getting "a much more realistic assessment, and they're in the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff."