Monday, December 14, 2009

Obama and the banks

A top adviser to President Barack Obama says the White House is telling the banking industry it helped create last year's near economic meltdown and it has to be ``part of the solution.''

Small business and mortgage lending, financial reform and the economic recovery are all on the agenda for President Barak Obama's meeting with bank executives this morning.

Previewing a meeting Obama will have later Monday with industry leaders, David Axelrod said there simply has to be easier credit for businesses to reinvest and do the hiring needed to bring down double-digit unemployment.

Interviewed on ABC's ``Good Morning America,'' Axelrod said the message to bankers is, ``You have to accelerate lending to credible small businesses.''

Meeting could be tense

In a ``60 Minutes'' interview aired last night, Obama said Wall Street's huge bonuses anger people and he didn't run for president to help ``fat cat bankers.''

Meanwhile, Citigroup is the latest big bank to announce it's paying back bailout money. It will return $20 billion to the Treasury.

One of the hardest hit by the credit crisis and loan defaults, Citigroup received $45 in government support.

Many banks have moved quickly to repay the bailout money because it came with restrictions like caps on executive pay and dividends.

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