Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Barack Obama criticises 'fat cat' bankers

President Barack Obama
President Obama will tell bankers to help the US economy

President Barack Obama has criticised "fat cat" bankers who pay themselves large bonuses.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" programme, he said he did not run for office to be "helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street".

Later on Monday, the president will meet some of the US's top bankers face-to-face.

He is scheduled to hold a meeting with executives from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup.

He is planning to tell them to step up lending to small businesses and get behind legislation to overhaul Wall Street regulations.

His economic adviser, Larry Summers, also went on television on Sunday. He told ABC's "This Week" programme that the president was aiming to have a "serious talk" with the industry representatives.

As well as asking them to lend more money, President Obama is expected to call on them to take responsibility for helping the economy after benefiting from taxpayer-funded bail-outs of the financial sector.

Frustration

President Obama also criticised bankers who were resisting tighter industry rules.

"What's really frustrating me right now is that you've got these same banks who benefited from taxpayer assistance who are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists up on Capitol Hill, fighting against financial regulatory control," he said.

Many US citizens are angry that the banking industry was granted a $700bn bail-out.

The Obama administration has said the rescue programme was needed to stem the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and head off a potentially greater calamity in the broader economy.

Last week, the US House of Representatives approved its version of the financial regulatory reform legislation. But before the bill can become law, it will also need approval from the Senate.

Banks are resisting the new legislation which is designed to prevent a repeat of the events that sparked the turmoil.

It includes a plan to give regulators the power to dismantle businesses that threaten the economy in a way that ensures shareholders and unsecured creditors, not taxpayers, bear the losses.



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