Though the government has tried — and failed — twice to create a program to buy troubled assets from banking companies, there is a growing concern that without such a program, financial institutions remain vulnerable if the economic crisis worsens.The Treasury Department is expected to announce today that a few firms have been allowed to repay Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, a sign of government confidence that the worst of the crisis may be over. Regulators have said they would scale back or put on hold a toxic asset plan, because bankers have appeared less willing to sell assets now that they have raised enough private capital to withstand additional losses.

But a growing number of skeptics argue that policymakers have been here before, with regulators confident that capital infusions would be enough to stabilize the banking sector, while toxic assets continued to eat away at balance sheets.

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