BANK ON IT

Bank Paybacks Hinge on Credit

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is in no rush to see banks repay government loans if it would come at the cost of the credit market. Geithner told the Congressional Oversight Panel today that decisions about paybacks will depend on the broader stability of credit, which could be rocked if banks started paying back the $700 billion TARP investment. "My basic obligation is to make sure the system as a whole...has the ability to provide the credit that recovery requires," Mr. Geithner said, describing it as "the ultimate test." Until then, only a few select bank firms have been allowed to repay loans.