updated 7/17/2009 2:02:48 PM ET 2009-07-17T18:02:48

President Barack Obama's top economic adviser said Friday the nation has moved back substantially from the brink of an economic catastrophe it faced at the beginning of the year.

Lawrence Summers, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, said the improved health displayed by some large Wall Street firms would have been impossible without government help. The ability of certain large banks to pay the Treasury back for large infusions of taxpayer money is a positive and favorable sign, he said.

Summers spoke to a Washington economic think tank. His remarks came as firms that received billions of dollars in infusions from the Troubled Asset Relief Program were reporting better than expected second-quarter earnings. Among them were Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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