President Obama said financial institutions must make an “extraordinary commitment” to help build the economy by reconsidering their lending practices to small- and medium-sized businesses.
“We expect some results,” said President Obama, after meeting with the heads of the nation’s 12 largest banks. “Given the exceptional assistance banks received to get them through a difficult time, we expect them to explore every responsible way to help get our economy moving again,” Obama stressed. He added that the situation banks faced a year ago was “a predicament largely of their own making.”
On the issue of financial regulatory reform Obama said there is a “big gap” between what industry executives told him at the White House and the activities of financial lobbyists on Capitol Hill. “I urged them to close that gap, and they assured me that they would make every effort to do so,” he stated.
Obama spoke the same day that Citigroup Inc. announced that it would repay $20 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. Obama noted that once the Citigroup funds are repaid, the government will have collected 60 percent of the money owed, with interest, under the government bailout program. “We expect other institutions to follow suit, and we are determined to recover every last dime for the American taxpayers,” he asserted.