HENRY J. PULIZZI
The Wall Street Journal
December 14, 2009
[efoods]WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama pressed executives from the country’s biggest banks to “explore every responsible way” to boost lending and help the economy get back on its feet, and urged them to back up their stated support for a proposed regulatory overhaul.
“My main message in today’s meeting was very simple: that America’s banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry, and now that they’re back on their feet we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy,” Mr. Obama said after the White House meeting. “That starts with finding ways to help creditworthy small and medium-sized businesses get the loans that they need to open their doors, grow their operations and create new jobs.”
Mr. Obama called his session with the leaders of 12 banks, including Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., candid and productive. But he also touched on the tension that has sprouted between Wall Street and the administration, saying banks need to “close the gap” between their public statements of support for regulatory reform and their lobbying against the effort on Capitol Hill.