May 15th, 2010
09:38 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama pushes Wall Street reform bill

(CNN) – President Obama is again pushing the Wall Street reform bill in his weekly radio and internet address Saturday, saying the measure “represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history.”

“You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you. We’ll help stop predatory practices, and curb unscrupulous lenders, helping secure your family’s financial future,” Obama says in the address.

It is expected the bill, which has attracted little Republican support, will face a vote by the end of next week.

Transcript of Obama’s full address after the jump

On Thursday, I paid a visit to a small business in Buffalo, New York, a town that’s been hard hit in recent decades. I heard from folks about the struggles they’ve been facing for longer than they care to remember. And I talked with them about what my administration is doing to help our families, our small businesses, and our economy rebound from this recession.

Jumpstarting job creation in the private sector and fostering a climate that encourages businesses to hire again is vitally important – and I’ll continue working hard to make sure that happens. But my responsibility as President isn’t just to help our economy rebound from this recession – it’s to make sure an economic crisis like the one that helped trigger this recession never happens again.

That’s what Wall Street reform will help us do. In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of back and forth about the reform bill currently making its way through Congress. There’s been a lot of discussion about technical aspects of the bill, and a lot of heated – and frankly, sometimes misleading – rhetoric coming from opponents of reform.

All of this has helped obscure what reform would actually mean for you, the American people. So, I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about why every American has a stake in Wall Street reform.

First and foremost, you have a stake in it if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a credit card company, misled by pages and pages of fine print, or ended up paying fees and penalties you’d never heard of before. And you have a stake in it if you’ve ever tried to take out a home loan, a car loan, or a student loan, and been targeted by the predatory practices of unscrupulous lenders.

The Wall Street reform bill in Congress represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history. You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you. We’ll help stop predatory practices, and curb unscrupulous lenders, helping secure your family’s financial future.

That’s why families have a stake in it. And our community banks also have a stake in reform. These are banks we count on to provide the capital that lets our small businesses hire and grow.

The way the system is currently set up, these banks are at a disadvantage because while they are often playing by the rules, many of their less scrupulous competitors are not. So, what reform will do is help level the playing field by making sure all our lenders – not just community banks – are subject to tough oversight. That’s good news for our community banks, which is why we’ve received letters from some of these banks in support of reform.

What’s true for our community banks is also true for small businessmen and women like the ones I met in Buffalo. These small businesses were some of the worst victims of the excessive risk-taking on Wall Street that led to this crisis. Their credit dried up. They had to let people go. Some even shut their doors altogether. And unless we put in place real safeguards, we could see it happen all over again.

That’s why Wall Street reform is so important. With reform, we’ll make our financial system more transparent by bringing the kinds of complex, backroom deals that helped trigger this crisis into the light of day. We’ll prevent banks from taking on so much risk that they could collapse and threaten our whole economy. And we’ll give shareholders more of a say on pay to help change the perverse incentives that encouraged reckless risk-taking in the first place. Put simply, Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on Main Street.

The stories I heard in Buffalo this week were a reminder that, despite the progress we’ve made, we need to keep working hard, so we can build on that progress and rebound from this recession in the short-term. But even as we do, we also need to lay a new foundation for growth and shared prosperity over the long-term.

Next week, we have a chance to help lay a cornerstone in that foundation. The reform bill being debated in the Senate will not solve every problem in our financial system – no bill could. But what this strong bill will do is important, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible, so we can secure America’s economic future in the 21st century.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    The greedy obstructionist party wants to protect corporate profits - hmmmm

    May 15, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. keith in Austin

    Why doesn't Bozo get his nose out of the private sector and spend more time on what government is entrusted to do? Like protecting our borders. Meanwhile, he and his idiot AJ Eric Holder are creating a political football defaming the State of Arizona for protecting it's citizens when they haven't even read the bill! The American people MUST replace these incompetents before it's too late!

    May 15, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    We need to get the bankers and corporations out of our government or this experiment in democracy will be all for naught.

    Contact your representatives and Senators and encourage them, or in the alternative, vote them out until Congress starts working for us again.

    May 15, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. rob

    What about Fanny and Freddy?

    May 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. tayo ladejo

    America is so blessed with such a
    n incredible leadership in President Barack Obama.Presently,the nation has recaptured what has been the missing link for so long- responsible & effective leadership with sharp & accurate forsight & strength of character.I am convinced that if the legislative arm of govt will put aside Partisan Politics & pursue the actualisation of the American Dreams, then the great future will be attainable again & the bride & dignity & prosperity of America will be fully restored.

    May 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Obama's "reform bill" in Congress protects the largest banks with taxpayer guarantees, while putting the entire burden of "reform" on the neighborhood and small banks.

    Wall Street LOVES Obama, as he talks one way but acts completely different. As long as voters don't read the bill and only listen to the soundbites of this administration, Main Street will continue to suffer.

    May 15, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. ronalde

    the country needs this bill to pass,to stoprun away banks and bankers. But i'm sure we will hear the same old tiered arguments from the republicans of why this won't work and their stall tactics this country will not move forward with out the party of HELL NO.

    May 15, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |