Obama Urges Lenders to Help Economic Recovery
President Obama called on financial institutions, especially the ones that benefited from federal bailout money, to increase efforts to help the economy recover. “The way I see it, having recovered with the help of the American government and the American taxpayers, our banks now have a greater obligation to the goal of a wider recovery, a more stable system, and more broadly shared prosperity,” Obama said in a prepared statement after meeting with the CEOs of 12 of the nation's largest financial institutions Monday. Obama said the CEOs committed to originating business loans for creditworthy small and medium-sized firms. In addition, Obama called on the banking industry to not fight efforts at reforming the financial system to increase transparency, accountability and consumer protections. Obama noted the bank CEOs said they were committed to reform; lobbyists and industry group efforts are hindering progress. “I made very clear that I have no intention of letting their lobbyists thwart reforms necessary to protect the American people,” he said. “If they wish to fight common-sense consumer protections, that's a fight I'm more than willing to have.” Obama said after Citigroup (C) repays the $20bn it received through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the federal government will recoup 60% of the loaned funds distributed, with interest. “[W]e are determined to recover every last dime for the American taxpayers,” he said. Write to Austin Kilgore.