Page last updated at 00:18 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 01:18 UK

IMF head urges speedy bank reform

By Andrew Walker
Economics correspondent, BBC World Service, Washington

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Washington DC (23/04/2009)
Mr Strauss-Kahn said bank reform was essential for recovery

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) managing director has said the US and Western Europe need to act more quickly to sort out their banking systems.

Speaking in Washington before a series of high-level financial meetings, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said there had been progress but it had been too slow.

Mr Strauss-Kahn said cleaning up the mess in the financial systems of the rich world was the most important task.

But more action was needed to sort out problems with bad loans, he said.

He accepts that there has been progress. But he says it is not enough.

"In many countries the architecture of a coherent financial programme is now more or less in place. What is lagging, and where time has been lost, is in the implementation," he said.

His call was directed mainly at the United States and Western European countries.

Sorting out the banks was essential he said, if there is to be an economic recovery.

"All the experience we have of past banking crises, and we have a lot of experience with those banking crises in this institution, is that you never recover before you have completed the cleaning up of the balance sheet of the financial sector," he said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn will have an opportunity to press finance ministers on that over the next few days at a series of meetings in Washington.

In one area, he said was pleased with progress.

The stimulus from governments in tax cuts and extra spending for this year, Mr Strauss-Kahn said, is in line with what the IMF called for, though he suggested more might be needed in 2010.

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