November 18, 2008 / 2:37 PM / 11 years ago

Bernanke - credit markets strained, capital helping

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on the state of the economy before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington in this February 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that credit markets, while stabilizing, remain under serious strain and government capital injections into banks are needed to help restore normal lending.

“There are some signs that credit markets, while still quite strained, are improving,” he said in testimony prepared for delivery to the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Treasury Department injections of capital into financial institutions using its $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program funds would be critical for restoring confidence and promoting the return of credit markets to more normal functioning, he said.

Bernanke also said the Treasury’s ability to take any actions that might be needed to prevent the failure of a systemically important financial institution would be an important part of restoring confidence and healing markets.

“The ongoing capital injections under the TARP are continuing to bring stability to the banking system and have reduced some of the pressure on banks to deleverage, two critical steps toward restarting flows of credit,” he said.

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