The panel overseeing the financial bailout is offering a mixed assessment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The watchdog panel says the $700 billion helped prevent an all-out panic last fall. It says confidence in the nation's financial system has improved, "access to credit is increasing, and the economy is growing." It notes that some of the funds are being repaid and the final cost of the emergency financial policies is "likely to be significantly lower than previously expected."
But the panel's report also points to ongoing problems in the financial system, including limited credit, ongoing bank failures, continued weakness at some large banks, escalating job losses and foreclosures, and the banking system's continued reliance on government support.
The panel's chair notes that Congress set goals for the bailout that "went well beyond short-term financial stability." Harvard Law school professor Elizabeth Warren says "by that measure problems remain."
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