Geithner: Bailout was "best of the options we had"

In 2008, the global financial system was on the brink of collapse and Timothy Geithner was one of the key players charged with preventing it from going over the edge. In his new book, "Stress Test," he describes what it was like to have that responsibility, first as the head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and later as the head of the Treasury Department.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Geithner and I asked him about decisions made during that -- how they achieved consensus about what to do in the crisis, what worked and what didn't.

He explained how his strong working relationship with his predecessor at Treasury, Hank Paulson, and then Fed chief Ben Bernanke was key to preventing a worse financial crisis than we all experienced.

Geithner took pride that the massive bailouts worked for their main goals. Six months later, the economy was growing again, many jobs were saved. The government didn't ultimately lose billions on the transactions. In fact, by some estimates, the deals struck then were ultimately profitable for the U.S.

But Geithner admitted the country is "still living with scars" from the crisis and that there is more the government could do to help homeowners and other Americans who are still struggling -- eight years later -- from the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Mellody Hobson

    View all articles by Mellody Hobson on CBS MoneyWatch»
    Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News and CBSNews.com.