Geithner has faced consistent critiques about his record. During his tenure, the Fed was among the regulators that did not act aggressively enough to stem the building risks in the financial system. He faced accusations that he did not appear sympathetic to the public frustration that bailed out American International Group was paying its traders extravagant bonuses — feeding a perception of closeness with the financial industry that he has acknowledged has been “damaging” to the Obama administration. He and others in the administration failed to get enough support for passing enough measures to foster more rapid economic growth.
Geithner, who first broached the subject of stepping down in fall 2010, agreed to stay on for the remainder of the term after aggressive lobbying by Obama. Friends say he will take a year or more off, probably write a book and is unlikely to take a job on Wall Street. In an interview, Geithner said the factors that have driven him to spend a life in public service remain compelling.