December 12th, 2009
10:35 AM ET
9 months ago

Fortune: Can Obama bully the bankers?

New York (Fortune) – President Obama is about to give the banks an earful about lending. But he may be a day late - and $116 billion short.

Obama will meet Monday with top executives of some of the nation's biggest lenders.

CEOs of 12 banks are expected, including the heads of American Express (AXP, Fortune 500), Bank of America, Capital One (COF, Fortune 500), Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.

The president is expected to say he wants to see more loans for the sake of economic recovery. He'll also urge execs to curb compensation, to stop gouging customers with high credit card rates and hidden overdraft fees, and to support financial reform efforts.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Jim in Indiana

    Break them up so they can have the freedom to fail. They have become so large and untrustworthy to be allowed to survive. They are a risk to our survival.

    December 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Scott, Tucson

    Are these the same CEO's that obama and his fellow democrats are going to beg hat in hand for campaign donations from them next year and in 2012?

    December 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. stu

    More loans to people who can't afford them and won't repay them..yeah, good strategy. Sound familiar? That's what Obama pushed for in lawsuits forcing mortgage lenders to make bad loans in the name of political-correctness.

    Perhaps he could push to end the political practice of changing official votes after the vote is taken, so that a politician looks better to his or her constituents? Or how about making the Congressional Records exactly accurate, not "substantially correct?"

    December 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. jimmm

    Unfortunately, the government can't make the banks loan, however perhaps next time they need something from the government, their requests will fall on deaf ears.

    The largest banks are lending the smallest amounts to small businesses. The smaller regional banks are the ones doing the lending right now. Unfortunately, those banks have limited resources. If the largest banks actually started lending then it would help the economy

    December 12, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Dixon

    The only concern banks have is their bonus money. How these people can receive all this bonus money for destroying our economy is beyond me. So far all we see is the same practices that got us where we are. Had they sent that TARP money out to the consumers it would already be in the economy. The banks like to blame risky lending, however, we all know it is greed that got us here.

    December 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. urge execs to curb compensation

    that'll go over well

    bank's have just lost perspective, we need bankers that know how to do the analysis, not the big picture thinkers, they are a dime a dozen

    December 12, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. bill

    Welcome to the new dictatorship under obama.

    December 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. John in Brooklyn

    The Obama folks should pull out the stops....the American people are extremely angry about the lingering recession....AND have the notion that the Obama Administration has not kept its eye on the ball when it comes to helping average Americans WHILE going to extraordinary measures to help the banking industry.

    December 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    Obama needs to move from in front of that mirror and quit admiring himself.

    December 12, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Ceelie

    Somebody should. Pres. Bush let them rape the he** out of America!

    December 12, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Lane

    Bankers have been "bullying" the American people for years.

    December 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Liz

    Bankers have raped and re-raped the American people.

    December 12, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. B

    He had better Bully them after we taxpayers just saved their BUTTS !

    First we save Wall street ,and now we will- give away- our healthcare to the Insurance companies....

    Americans should begin to realize that we are absolute Pawns for the government owned corporations,Banks, and Wall street !

    December 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Dodie ~ California

    Thank You President Obama!

    For the first time in almost a decade, a president is now willing to help the middle class Americans who have all been decimated by the absorbent and outrageous Banks, Wall Street, and large corporate America. Their code of conduct, their 'bible' is their ‘demigod’ money. These are entities with no conscious. They are here only to make exorbitant wealth regardless of environment, habitat and class destruction. When is enough, enough? Granted, private industry’s sole purpose is economic wealth; however, not being limited can cause mass destruction and ultimately a superpower into a declining power.

    There is an old saying. The best predictor of the future is looking at the past. Every empire has crumbled. Why? The greed that lies within each of us will be our destruction. Until we, as a people, as a nation can come together finding that delicate balance between resource wealth and economic wealth; we will continue to crumble slowly, pitifully. We will Not go down with a bang! We will go down in a whimper!

    December 12, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Wayne

    Banks are driven by profits. They are not going to lend money unless there is something in it for them. I'm guessing that Obama is referring to small business loans as economic recovery loans. With the unfair advantages corporations have over small business, someone would have to be an idiot to invest their money in small business and an even bigger idiot to lend to one.

    December 12, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Fooled Again

    Geithner needs to resign. We need to audit the Fed. Obama is repeating the same mistakes, by using the fed to print money out of thi air for political reasons(buying votes) and Bernanke and Geithner are facilitating this political scheme.

    An audit of the Fed will eliminate the connection between the party in power and the corrupt money printing. We need to see behind the curtain.

    December 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    If President Obama bullying the bankers turns out the way health care reform appears to be going for health insurers and big pharma, the bankers are in for a treat. It has become increasingly clear our elected representatives from Congress to the White House, and not just Republicans anymore, are now wholly owned subsidiaries. "We the people" appears to have failed, replaced by "We the corporations." I hope I'm wrong. I don't think I am. Just look at our media for proof. It's not news you can use or need to know, it's news that brings in ad revenue and subtly influences the way you think.

    December 12, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Tina

    Stop trying to force bankers to lend to deadbeats with bad credit scores. This is what caused the ecomonic collapse in the first place. You don't hear about people with 800 credit scores whining about not being able to get loans.

    The Obama Adminstration should not be able to set caps on CEO's salaries. The decision of how much to pay a CEO should be made by the corporate board, not politicians who are only doing this to try to get votes in the fall.

    December 12, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. A. Smith, Oregon

    Of course a sitting American President could bully or intimidate a Bank, Bank CEO's or the entire Banking industry if he/she chose to!

    A sitting American President has a full range of intimidating measures at their disposal to use, several of which would severely cripple or limit any CEO, bank or entire banking industry in specific areas if those options were selected.

    President Obama's new 'Pay Czar' apparently can put the squeeze on the outragious bonus's and golden parachutes routinely handed out to Banking managers, CEO's and outgoing managment members. It appears this is possible with Banks that have accepted tax payer dollars to help them survive, (the TARP funding).

    Normally, such golden parachute agreements would be legally binding contracts within those banking corporations and their shareholders which would make outside governmental changes to those binding contracts nearly impossible at best.

    My thoughts and advice, Use the same pressure on Big Pharma to force pharmaceutical companys to accept far less money for their drugs they manufacture for pennys and sell for thousands of dollars per monthly refill. All other countrys have stuck it to Big Pharma with the sole exception being, The United States.

    December 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. jayhamlet

    I don't think "bully" is the proper word. But the president needs to tell these folks straight up: "Look, the country is hurting dab. We are facing the worst economy since the Thirties and while I'm not placing all the blame at your doorstep, the financial establishment was implicated in it. Right now, Wall Street and the banks, in my view, have a patriotic responsibility to help this nation recover. And you can do that by accepting more stringent oversight, helping to repay TARP, lending more readily, and helping put people to work. I know none of this will be easy or overnight. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't begin. Because when Main Street thrives, financial markets are boosted; and well Main Street withers, eventually Wall Street will be negatively impacted. I thank you for listening and look forward to working with you – in this momentous and perilous time, in the days and months ahead."

    December 12, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. ran

    What is needed is a non-profit national bank where more money is given in interest to people's savings account and less to executives compensation. Also, loans/credit cards interest would be less without the excess of compensations to executives.

    December 12, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. SamSunny

    Lots of Luck. The banks are like the Republican Party. They only think of themselves and how much money they can get from gouging the American people. The GOP kisses the hinyes of Wall Street, and in turn Wall Street throws money at the GOP. The President is spitting against the wind.

    December 12, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Beth

    The bankers sure took the bailout money we gave them, in return, we got the shaft.....again. No help with banking fees, bank credit cards sky-rocketed, morgagage help was unavailable, but yet, they found ways to give themselves billion dollar bonuses. The Republicans let them run rampant for eight years........it will take Democrats to make things right again.

    December 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. ruben

    President obama has every right to "bully" the bankers after all, if pres. Obama doesn't do it, who can? These banks are using our $$$.

    December 12, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Fan of Common Sense

    OK. I'm having deja vu'. Isn't this what led to the housing bubble? The federal government telling bankers who to lend to? I have tried very hard to have an open mind about Obama and to give him a chance, but this is either economic stupidity or economic sabotage. Whichever it is, I'm scared.

    December 12, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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