Government stress tests boosted confidence in the nation’s biggest banks and helped them raise $56 billion in needed capital, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress today. His remarks were met by bipartisan skepticism, with members noting that smaller institutions still face severe challenges, the Wall Street Journal reports. “People don’t feel it getting better yet,” Geithner conceded.
But Geithner defended the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which has about $124 billion left, saying the market is starting to heal. He announced plans for an expanded survey of all banks that received TARP funds, saying the previous assessment helped “increase confidence in the financial system.” The Treasury is also launching small-business loan and toxic-assets programs in the coming weeks.