Washington (CNN) – On the eve of a White House meeting where President Obama is expected to encourage the nation’s largest lenders to loosen up credit, personal finance expert Suze Orman says Obama should not get all of the blame for how some banks have behaved in the last year.
“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?” Orman told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
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“I think a big part of this problem falls right back to the banks especially those with credit cards,” Orman also told King.
Asked what she would say if she had a seat at Monday’s meeting with the heads of the nation’s largest banks, Orman let loose.
“I would say: ‘Bankers, what in the world is the matter with you? You took taxpayers’ dollars in order to survive. You are giving out bonuses now. You are acting like nothing is wrong. Some of your stocks have increased in value from their low[s]. However, you are not serving the people that you should be serving.
“In my opinion, bankers,” Orman continued, “you are serving your own bottom lines and shame on you! And if you don’t get your act together, if you don’t start helping those that need loan modifications, if you don’t start helping those that need [small business] loans. . . if you don’t help those that really need you, then we’re going to have to do something about it.’”
Orman added that she did not know what the solution was to get banks to loosen up credit for consumers and small businesses but she suggested the possibility of a windfall profits tax. That, she said, might provide the incentive necessary to get lenders to do what the White House and many members of Congress want them to do to help turn the economy around.