President Obama, who blasted “fat-cat bankers” on Sunday for not being there for struggling homeowners and business owners, is convening the heads of major banks at the White House this morning.
It’s the taxpayers who bailed out struggling banks, the president told CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday, but now those same institutions are battling against tighter regulations. In addition, Obama said, big banks have reduced lending for five consecutive quarters, even as they have recognized steady increases in profits.
Obama said. "What's really frustrating me right now is that you've got these same banks who benefited from taxpayer assistance who are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists . . . up on Capitol Hill, fighting against financial regulatory control."
Among those participating in today’s White House meeting are the chief executives of 12 of the nation's largest banks, including Kenneth D. Lewis of the Bank of America; Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase; and Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs's.
The president’s call comes at a time when he is under increased pressure to flip the economy, particularly from Black leaders who note that African-American unemployment is an astronomical 15.6 percent. Overall unemployment is also shocking at 10.2 percent.
Last week, members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked out of the vote on financial-reform legislation in the House until language in the bill was strengthened to ensure more jobs.
Meanwhile, renowned personal finance expert Suze Orman said it’s ridiculous to blame Obama for the actions of the banks.
“It’s not all the president’s fault,” Orman said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “You can pass every law that you want. You can try to do anything in the world – give these institutions money – if they don’t help their customers, what are you going to do about it? I think a big part of this problem falls right back to the banks especially those with credit cards.”
So what does she recommend Obama do?