Recent reports that peg GDP growth at 3.5 percent illustrate the economy is on the upswing, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said this morning.

Although the federal government still must do more to encourage banks to "take a chance" on consumers and the economy again, the programs the White House implemented earlier this year have nonetheless saved the country from further meltdown, he added.

"The growth was broad-based. It was investment, exports, consumption, housing for the first time. And it shows that, you know, just five months after the president came into office, we got growth restarted," he told NBC's "Meet the Press. "But it's just the beginning, and we got a ways to go. Unemployment's high and still rising."

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Geithner's defense of the president's billion-dollar economic rescue plans arrives just days before Obama will celebrate one year since voters sent him to the White House.

Of course, the administration has long battled back suggestions, especially from its Republican critics, that it abandon both the federal stimulus and bank bailout in order to spare the federal debt and pay for its other reforms. But Obama and his team have maintained that recovery would have been impossible without their huge rescue efforts -- an argument Geithner echoed Sunday.

The Treasury Secretary, however, did admit there was still quite a bit to do. He told host David Gregory that the federal government more than anything had to convince banks the economic climate was again safe for lending, especially to Americans who may not have superb credit.

"The big risk we face right now is banks are gonna take too little risk, after having gotten it wrong in run up to the crisis," he said.

"What the government has to do in a crisis it to provide a bridge until the economy can repair itself," Geithner added. "And again, you're starting to see it."