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December 14th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Obama: Banks 'don't get it'

President Obama is going toe-to-toe with big banks today. With very little leverage and even less to offer, he'll meet with the heads of twelve giant banking firms.

Here's his pitch: make less money, and lend more of it to the American people. It's a tough sell, for sure. Our Suzanne Malveaux has the report.


Filed under: Business • Politics
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. anthony

    I'm forced to apply for bankruptcy...It would be nice if our politicians bailed the people out like they should have. The economy would've recovered by now...

    December 17, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  2. Don

    I am in awe of the whole horse-and-pony show!! How banks can "dole out" bonuses to people making more than they should, how people can afford families when I can barely afford myself and how our culture promotes a "work your way up" work ethic fails to reward those who do!
    I am a Vietnam Era veteran whose first job was @ $700. a month, who stuck with his profession, earned first an A.A.S degree then struggled to complete a full B.S. degree and now works for a major corporation who places a manager over him for whom english is a second language and can not write three sentences without needing someone to interpret what she is trying to say. While the the best qualifications she can present for the job are 1) being a female and 2) being a minority. No outside education, no qualifications for the job other than her father worked for the same company, yet she writes my performance reviews and lords over me as a micro-manager.
    I think the whole system (government as well as business) is broke and I just trying to hang on!

    December 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  3. wanda

    There will never be a solution to this problem (or any of this country's other problems) unless and until there is a citizens' group that can afford to pay larger bribes than the "fat cats". Congressmen are completely amoral, they are attuned only to the ring of the cash register. They could be controlled by sufficiently severe punishments for wrongdoing, but the candy-asses of America don't have the balls for that, so pay up or shut up!

    December 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  4. Jack Pangle jr

    The banks don't get it,,,,,,,, who does this surprise? If you take all the monies given to bail out,,, divide it by the number of tax payers, send that money directly to the people,, they could pay off depts, get medical attention and the money would be back into the financial system making improvements for all, not setting up big companies to continue their cource. Now take the billions of tax dollars and spend them here in our country instead of overseas, we would have good roads, good jobs and a sfe place for our kids to go to school in a safe state. ?Yes we could use our troops at home proving a safe place at home instead of overseas. Wake up America, lets take care of our own first.

    Jack

    December 17, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  5. Jeff

    This is the biggest smoke-and-mirrors game ever pulled on the American public and most folks are buying into it.

    Obama worked as a lawyer not that long ago SUING BANKS who didn't make enough loans to poor minorities. The government's (under CRA) was trying to dictate risk management to the banks and right a perceived social injustice (that people who can't afford to have mortgages shouldn't be granted them). Well, this was the genesis of the entire subprime industry. The banks (intelligently) threw their hands in the air and said "fine, we'll comply with the law" and feverishly tried to devise ways to shed themselves of the inherent risks with making big-dollar loans to schlubs who have no hope of being able to repay them (this is what was FORCED by the CRA, its advocates – like ACORN, and its enforcers – like Obama...)

    So the mortgage-backed security was born. Banks packaged up a few "risky" loans with a bunch of good ones and sold the package on the open market to people with stronger tolerances for risk. Brilliant idea, actually. However they got TOO good at this and soon realized they'd stumbled onto a bona-fide way of making lots and lots of money, since there were a lot of people lining up to buy these things. As such, they started "pumping" more and more subprime loans (way above and beyond what CRA required) and you ended up with what we got – a white-hot housing market largely propped up by promises to repay by unqualified poor people who should NEVER have been given loans in the first place.

    So are the banks to blame? Yeah, partially. But ultimately it was the CRA and the "well-intentioned" liberal/socialist mentality that spawned it. Now Obama is standing up there – after having championed this flawed logic for YEARS and trying to blame the banks? Shame, shame!

    You know what they say about the "road to hell" being paved with good intentions, right? Well, the "good intentions" of the CRA are proof positive as this country is now solidly on the road to the hell of socialism.

    December 17, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  6. david gossett

    the banks got help, but we get sky high interest rates, more fees, and more penalties. Shouldn't we all get a break for bailing them out?

    December 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  7. GloriaSeattle

    Why should the banks get it? IRS just gave them a 38 billion dollar tax break (Citigroup). When you get loans for risky behavior, tax breaks, and you can pay out bonus's in the millions, let the good times roll! Heck, I pay my mortgage on time and can't get a refi because I do... I dispise this "political double talk." Tax payers and honest citizens who do the right thing lose whether Democrat or Republican. We need a "change" alright!

    December 16, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  8. connie whisnant

    i have been fighthing wells fargo on a loan modication 7 months now.
    i'm going to lose my home ,while this companys get a hand outs.what about us its our tax money their using to bail them out,no one cares

    December 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  9. Rena

    I agree. The presidents' know. I voted for Mr. Obama. But the very fact that he gave them a bailout if proof that, that change is NOT going to come. The banks and the rich are in charge and I suppose the President has to simply go along. The banks own the Monopoly game of life. They never run out of money. The rules say you can write more money on any piece of paper. And boy, do they! The banks always win, period. We keep having our bad debt and helping the world go round as The Conspiracy of The Rich continues. It's cute that He's getting tough, but banks listen to no one. Not the President either. And Bill Clinton helped create the illegal Citigroup. I'm not educated at all and this probably doesn't sound too coherent, but whatevs. I think good cop/bad cop is a good analogy.

    December 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  10. Damara

    Should bank customers just take their money out of the banks and put their money in credit unions?

    December 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  11. Pauline Kinstrey

    Banks are like spoiled children and so is Obama. He was as close to a temper tantrum yesterday in his news conference on the banks as I've ever seen him. The big bankers aren't showing social responsibility and I'm sure it's not in their directives anyway. Obama wants to support everyone except those folks who are beating their brains out earning an honest living. Boo to both!!!

    December 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  12. charles

    Maybe they"ll get it if we charge them 29.99% interest and late fees like they do to the rest of us on the money they borrowed.

    December 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  13. PJ

    Of course they don't get it- YOU let them off the hook. Eric Holder, America's Greatest Coward, is sucking up to the green wad and NOT investigating Blankfein and Co. Had you busted in some doors like ICE busting legal immigrants and demanded every scrap of paper, email and voice mail and investigated in full, AND restored regulations designed to safeguard America against financial terrorists and traitors like Blankfein, then they might have "gotten it". YOU blew and let them get away with it and they know they can do it again until the American people get off their fat butts and hunt them down like the scum they are.

    December 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  14. FedUp

    There is an old story about a frog that carries a scorpion across the river. While crossing the scorpion stings the frog. The frog now paralyzed begins to sink and asks the scorpion why he doomed them both? The scorpion replied because it's my nature.

    Obama (the frog) is now complaining that the banks (scorpion) capitalized on the bailout money and are not reciprocating with increased lending.

    What did he expect? Does he really believe the American people are so ignorant and stupid (maybe he, pelosi, reid, do) that they do realize the fed is just as culpable as the banks.

    Basically the banks lending practice jeopardized the security of the American people which is treason. The should be incarcerated and summarily hung.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  15. Sean Boyd

    joe J, perhaps you've been asleep for the past few years, but pure, unrestrained free enterprise is part of how we ended up in the mess we're in. Making bad home loans to people with no ability to pay them, selling derivatives built on these loans, and thereby leveraging the money lended to a ridiculous degree. These were all brainchildren of free enterprise: we can do it, and we can make money right now in doing it, so we should do it. If this is the type of system you're advocating, then I pity you your ignorance. Now, the banks are understandably cautious about getting into trouble again, but if they adhere to common sense lending practices, like verifying ability to pay loans (something many, like WaMu, failed to do), they should be fine. The President correctly realizes that the government can't directly create these jobs. He also knows that the government can help create an environment where private interests can. An economy is made strong when money changes hands, and isn't left sitting in a vault collecting dust.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  16. Mary

    jerome: You'd have a lot more credibility if you learned how to spell "loser" correctly. Oh, by the way, you could have made your point without all the name-calling too.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  17. Alex Winter

    More populist crap. Telling idiot banks to lend to deadbeats won't help. Stop campaigning and get something done.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  18. Chad

    Patrick W. Fiori, Jr. – Follow the money. Obama's top campaign contributers:

    Goldman Sachs (2nd highest): $994,795
    Citigroup Inc: $701,290
    JPMorgan Chase & Co: $695,132
    Morgan Stanley $514,881

    Seems like the banks like him very much. Many people in his inner-circle are from Goldman Sachs. And many ex-Goldman execs (including the last 3 CEOs) have held positions in government, democrat and republican.

    Just looking up which political party the CEOs personally choose does not tell the whole story.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  19. Mike

    Someone_in_the_biz: "Bonuses are just that – you make money, you get a bonus. You don't, no bonus. "

    WHAT? How many of the large financial institutions were still paying billions (yes, that's a "B") in bonuses while losing money? That IS the issue. Until there's a correlation between performance and bonuses, they can't be justified. I don't mind someone making millions if they LEGALLY and MORALLY made a profit for their boss. That's just not the way they were operating.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  20. Johnny Utah

    Hey, Obama. Maybe banks could lend money if you and your brilliant Democratic Congress haven't forced so many new guideline changes on the banks that nobody can qualify for a loan.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  21. Art

    This past year is the beginning of the downward spiral of our economic engine, for "us". Big business and banks are like bread and butter. Their only concern is profit, nothing more. Add to that your politicians and we have a real problem. If we don't start putting people in front of money, than this machine will grind everything in sight and leave us to rot. Negative view? Look at the numbers and whats leaving our country. Look at Wall Street. Look and listen to what the politicians say and do. There's a old saying that seems to be relevant at the moment, "actions speak louder than words".

    December 16, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  22. AB

    Banks are not being asked to loan money to people who dont have it they never were. They were asked to find ways to loan money to people who could afford it. it was easier for them to loan out to everyone even if they couldnt then weed out the ones who could from the ones who couldnt . What we need here is the banks to start caring about America. then their bottom line. congress did do something when they came begging for money they got it. however ,they didnt like that there were strings attached. you want to know where the money is going . to their c#os pockets. screw them loan the money out to small businesses, and take a pay cut the rest of us are . we are all working for less they have to too.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  23. Raven Storm

    What about the cr@p they call FEES??? My bank is charging now....to use their OWN ATM!! When you are frequently low in balance with pending charges, they will intentionally hold deposits until a charge overdraws you, and then take $40 of your money!! Why can't they do something about that?

    When you paycheck to paycheck, you can't afford a bank account because they will steal most of what you put in. Every bank CEO should be doing some hard time, because what they do is actually called robbery and extortion.

    December 16, 2009 at 4:42 am |
  24. Kevin

    Almost every industry owes the Democrats. Thru out the last thirty years, the Democrats in congress have presented bills to loosen up the regulations for supposedly for the American Dream. Democrats forced the banking industry to allow every one the opportunity to own a home regardless whether the individual had the mental capacity or the capital to do so. Health care being forced fed to us. Cap and Trade (I breath so I pollute)

    What are business to do?

    If you purchased a home and did not understand the fine print, IT IS STILL YOUR FAULT. I have done without the fancy life style and paid off my home, but my reward higher taxes to pay for other’s ignorant decisions.

    I’ve worked, done without fancy items and owe nobody a dime. My reward, pay for the less fortunate (lazy ignorant a$$es on the government dole).

    Should have been maxing out credit cards, going on elaborate vacations and eating out.

    Vote against every incumbent.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Almost every industry owes the Democrats. Thru out the last thirty years, the Democrats in congress have presented bills to loosen up the regulations for supposedly for the American Dream. Democrats forced the banking industry to allow every one the opportunity to own a home regardless whether the individual had the mental capacity or the capital to do so. Health care being forced fed to us. Cap and Trade (I breath so I pollute)

    What are business to do?

    If you purchased a home and did not understand the fine print, IT IS STILL YOUR FAULT. I have done without the fancy life style and paid off my home, but my reward higher taxes to pay for other’s ignorant decisions.

    I’ve worked, done without fancy items and owe nobody a dime. My reward, pay for the less fortunate (lazy ignorant a$$es on the government dole).

    Should have been maxing out credit cards, going on elaborate vacations and eating out.

    For my bailout: Vote against every incumbent.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  26. Joe V

    Welcome to Pottersville folks. The evil banker Mr. Potter has taken over Bedford Falls and is turning it into Pottersville. It was a wonderful life, but not any more. Hey, there's always the bridge we can all go jump off of. See you there!

    December 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  27. jerome

    To all you looser socialist, spread the wealth pot smokers from DC. You need to get a clue! The banks dont belong to obama or the hoards of loosers wanting free money! The money in the banks belong to people who worked for it and now wants the bank to protect it! You fools will vote for any one who tells you you can get free money! Loosers!

    December 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  28. Joe

    I have been with Bank X for 25 years, 12 at this one branch with an average daily balance of mid 5 figures. I wanted to finance a new project and applied for a loan. No problem, took a day. Wanted to apply for a small credit card line just to have as an over draft protection (never used one but with significant in and out soon it sounded like a good idea). That was rejected. Can't figure it. Not a big deal, I just attached a savings account as back up, but I have to wonder who makes these decisions?

    December 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  29. joe, nj

    It was the banks' fault, because they were run by a bunch of COWARDS, who should have told Clinton if they were forced to make
    the questionable loans, they would close the doors and go out
    of business. I don't think the Administration would have forced them
    at that point.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  30. Wayne Medlin

    You don't get it either, O'bama. The problem isn't the bankers. Special interest is the nations biggest threat. You will never have any control over the banks actions or Wall Street until you eliminate special interest. Our legislative branch is broken. How is your health care legislation going????

    December 15, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  31. George

    Yes, tell the banks what to do. That'll work. Bankers are buisnessmen like any other buisnessman. Give them a chance to make a profit and watch them go. Tell them what to do that isn't buisness like and you end up where Obama is now. Nowhere. But he tried at least and it was a great photo op .

    December 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  32. The Real Issue

    The Real Issue is the "banks do not get it". We were had by the capitalisitic compound that started the problem and continues the problem. Look at the foreclosures-look at the lending. The banks do not care because they received the money to continue to do what they are doing. The President and Congress along with the FEDeral
    Reserve must take the leadership and do more than just lowering and adjusting interest rates. There must be regulation and laws that govern and never allow our country to be on the brink of financial disaster. And that's the Real Issue, my fellow Americans.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  33. Ya

    Anyone that works in sales to small business knows that is a complete stall in loans even to completely successful businesses now. I personally know of several small businesses that are contract for several million dollars of net profit every year, but a bank refused a $200,000.00 loan for modernizing their equipment. Tried everything to get them a loan. The numbers couldn't of made any more sense. But I'm sure a know-it-all will chime in and tell me how the loan risk evaluation process works. Except I work for the system and know how broken it is.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  34. MMM

    The responses here are widely varied which only goes to show the true complexity of these issues. There is no one size fits all answer, and no single thing got us into this mess. It's a culmination of a thousand small points and several big ones. The reponsiblilty lies all around us, as well as within us. All I know for sure anymore is that politicians are owned by business. I don't care what party they subscribe to. In fact, I don't even know why we delude ourselves by seperating them by party anymore. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I doubt it.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  35. bubba551

    Obama doesn't get it.

    As a result of risky loans, banks got into a short-term cash problem and TARP helped them over the hump. It was NOT "the worst economy since the Great Depression" The banks have largely recovered.

    Overstating the economic situation during the election and going into the 4th quarter, led to a constricting of retail spending during the main part of the year when retail sector profits. Retail accounts for ~70% of the economy. Retail sells dive. Ripple effect. The rest is history (i.e. now we are in the worst economy since the Great Depression.)

    December 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  36. wellsfargoemployee

    We are not going to help you, we have been trained not to help you. We are told everyday that no one is to qualify for loan assistance. We are here to keep you in your current loan under your current interest. The banks are in it for themselves they don't care about you. I am an employee loosing his home and they wont even help me.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  37. steel

    The audacity of OBAMA saying the banks don’t get it…if anyone DOESN”T get anything…its that jackazz in office

    December 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  38. Gerald

    "Didn't the banks fail because the Govt wanted them to make more loans availabl to those who weren't qualifyed! "

    Why does this lie get perpetuated as the problem? I live in an area were a large percentage, of what used to be $500K to multi-million dollar homes, are in foreclosure...because the owners walked away when their mortgages went upside down (they'd be throwing good money after bad for years...so it's 'good business').

    But the Republicans want a way to pin the economic problems on a Democratic president (Clinton), since the LONG PREDICTED bubble burst during the Bush administration. It's not a Republican/Democrat issue... it's a lifestyle issue. Both parties are just looking to gain leverage from it...neither of them can 'fix' it (could have prevented it...but that would be anti free market).

    At this point we can either let the little guys suffer while everything settles out and those with capital start rebuilding the pyramid from scratch (no matter how reduced their capital is... they are way ahead since they are the haves...look at who the winners were following the Great Depression)... or we can soften the blow by spending our way into a shared debt position (everyone's tax burden). Gee... I wonder why the price of oil went up to $135 a barrel just as this got started? Someone has plenty of money to invest in a depressed market.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  39. Dennis Pence

    NO! Obama doesn't get it. He is stripping this country of one of its greatest natural resources – the entrepreneurship of capitalism. Remove the profit making capabilities and you remove the incentive to work hard and invest. He cannot relegate all people to one class and expect anything but socialism/communism or total dictatorship (which is what I'm sure he would like to see). The bankers and "fat cats" as he calls them, understand what it takes to make a country great. Obama has never had a "real job" and he is trying to run the government as a "social organization". He is a failure, he will fail and the American people. economy and this country will suffer what may be irrepairable damage. God have mercy on us and our country.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  40. Marla

    After the banks took the TARP money, then they realized that they would have to limit the millions of dollars they pay to their execs (I'm sorry, NO ONE is work a $40mil paycheck.). It's amazing to me how quickly these banks, who were "in trouble", are now paying back the loans.
    Many of us lost jobs for extended periods of time, used up all of our savings, and are now "under-employed". Many of us are behind on our payments because we lost our jobs! We are trying to get caught up, but having to do so on smaller paychecks. The banks have the most inefficient process I have ever seen for loan modification. They drag it on for months (6 months or more!), and NEVER communicate to you that they need additional documents, or that since a month has gone by (due to their inefficiency!), you have to send resigned hardness applications, etc. When you call your mortgage company/bank, you will talk to 45 different people who tell you 45 different stories. In a recent CNN story, Charlie Scharf of Chase said that they were sending letters/calling all of those who applied for modifications. I am here to tell you that basically he lied. Since I applied for a modification in April, I finally received a letter last week telling me that they received the last batch of documents that I sent to them, and that I needed to make my trial modification payments. I have faxed documents to them several times, and I have NEVER received anything about a "trial modification" payment amount, or had anyone contact me about one.
    CNN and other should put together stories outlining the processes from hell that folks have to go through!

    December 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  41. The Funk Brothers

    You see...Obama was intelligent enough to deceive many people many times over and get elected. Now though his inexperience and naivetee are showing. Odds are little Sasha could beat her old man at even the simplest of games like Parchessi.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  42. William

    President is idiotic: Banks needed to adjust their criteria on who could/couldn't get loans. By necessity they had to make stricter guidelines. Now our Presidential idiot wants them to go back to the same garbage loans that screwed things up in the first place.
    Explain to me WHY a person should have a loan modified that can't make payments? They over bought and now are paying for it, thats why their is a foreclosure market. Same thing with people who lost their jobs, it has happened before and will happen again but there is no reason to just change loans so they can TRY and stay. Put them on the market, this will bring housing prices back to where they are affordable again.
    One thing I would do for those who lost their jobs and didn't OVERBUY is not add the foreclosures to their permanent records, thus when they get employment they can now possibly buy a new house if its affordable. those that bought million dollar homes and had to have 2-3 loans and 2-3 jobs each to pay for it need to lose those homes and learn to buy within their means.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  43. Obama is a failure

    OH the banks get it alright. Its obaMao that doesnt and never will get it.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  44. Michael Crane

    MarkE? They get the money from us at zero percent and then loan it back to us at 5 or 6%? HA I WISH IT WAS THAT LOW! We just got an automotive loan, when we got home and reviewedd the paperwork we noticed its at 23.5% APR! Theives is not the word that comes to mind for me.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  45. Richard Carroll

    Richard Carroll For President in 2012, Iam not rich, just an average hard worker trying to make a living for as a little as I make, so I know how its like to struggle for everything to get the American Dream. Iam not saying Yes we can, But instead, I will work for the American People, not for the politictions.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  46. Richard Carroll

    As A president rinning the country, the president should have the power to force these banks to start lending to the small buisness, because the american people saved there ass.l

    December 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  47. Richard Carroll

    Like I always said, we as amerians , should have not bailout, Banks, Because they still will not not help the small buisness, only the big , goverment bailout companys, cause the are garuntee, funds., and that ix why, the people of america, need I Richard Carroll as the next president, because the politicts, need to stop hirting the american people.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  48. Chris

    Let me see if I understand a few things about loans. First, it seems like a bunch of these banks got into trouble by making loans to people who couldn't really afford them right? Now, by bailing them out, our tax dollars helped them weather the storm from those transactions right? Why would I or the President expect these banks to once again start making loans to people and/or companies who simply are going to repay those loans? That equates to a dumb move right? People (and companies) need to stay within their means and I don't mean with taxpayer dollars!!!!

    December 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  49. Lawrence C. Hartung

    Didn't the banks fail because the Govt wanted them to make more loans availabl to those who weren't qualifyed! Now Odumbo wants the banks to "free up" the money, and start to loan again. It's a vicious circle, the Govt steps in, screws up everything and then, and then wnats another shot at it..

    December 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  50. Samilton, Corona, Ca.

    The Banks get it – they just choose to do want make sense to them, which is why we are in the mess we are currently in at this time.

    We should have never bailed them out. Credit is still tight.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  51. danny

    Isn't this what got us in the financial trouble we are now in-the government making the banks make loans to people that did not qualify for a loan and had no intention of paying them back. Looks to me that Obama is the one that does not get it. Or maybe he is getting it in the form of paybacks and political gains. When or we going to make the politicians finance their own campaigns instead of being funded my the taxpayer.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  52. JAdams

    For the majority of Americans hurt by the recession, their credit scores will be negatively impacted for years. This will prevent them from getting jobs in some cases, getting good rates on car or home loans, or denyed rental contracts. Were the Bank's credit scores hurt by the near financial failure?? Isn't it the Banks who will use these credit scores against their own customers to leverage higher loan rates? Why is it legal for employers to require access to your credit score? The entire credit score system puts the public at the mercy of lending institutions and invades our privacy like no other system in the world. Why is it allowed? Why can't we protect the privacy of our own financial history? It is part of the reason identity theft is so easy. It is one of the ways the Financial institutions maintain control and continue to 'enslave' the public. This is unique to America and another reason why the strength of our economy will continue to decline. America has not been the 'land of the free' for some time now, and may never be again.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  53. Rhoff

    WOW..seriously did we learnn nothing for the housing problems? YOU DONT LEND MONEY TO PEOPLE WHO CAN NOT PAY IT BACK!! We are in this housing mess because the Gov't made banks lend to people that were low income and not qualified for the mortgages..and here we go again. Gov't telling banks how to manage their risk. Its going to happen again..

    December 15, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  54. Jorge M Guzman

    The Banks can not affort to lent if they are not going to pay back.. The Gov should have bailout the people at the beggining, this way a check to each household would have been set with a check to pay their mortgage in ful (this would have help both the banks and morgage companies, a check for credit cards (this would have help banks and credit card companies and an incentive for small business which are the ones carrying the burden of the economy. Instead they gave the money to big enterprises, who used the monies to give more wealth to their executives and main owners (primary investors). Now the banks are replacing their OLD furniture and getting ready for their Xmas party.. The people, well they are on the same sinking boat!
    Seek God, since he is the only answer. Obama is only another mortal.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  55. Ric in NH

    President Obama was wrong: Banks do "get it." They just don't care. Caring would require acknowledging that greed is not goal of a life well spent.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  56. Citizen Brad

    Government won't fix this. And people please, the whole republican, democrat political orientation is overdone. Must we stereotype all rich corrupt people as republican and the saviors of the economy as democrat. Perhaps it is in our nature to need someone to blame and cheer. To find those responsible for this mess, look inwards. Look at those of us who were weak minded and bought something too expensive. Look at those who gave money to someone who could not afford to repay. If you are looking at this entity it is probably because you are looking in the mirror. This is the only person who can fix the economy.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  57. Blake in Santa Clara

    CNN – what a joke. Learn how to moderate a forum. Let me get this straight: I take the time to write out my comments to other readers, and then hope and pray it gets picked to be posted – fascist pigs all of you.

    This is not a forum. It's a whitewash like everything else you print. BTW, where is coverage on Al Gore's GIGANTIC GAFF at the "climate change" conference? I can't seem to find it anywhere on your site. Don't you think that the Scientist that Gore used as his source for the alarm about polar ice melting said that Gore misrepresented his data is big news? Guess not. Viva la Agenda!

    December 15, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  58. Rick Jones

    Government telling the banks who to lend to(ie. the people who couldn't afford a loan) is what got us into this situation in the first place. If it was your money(which it is), would you lend it out right now given the state of the world economy?
    So now our fearless leader jumps all over the bankers who are trying to be prudent? Hypocrisy.
    One other thing...is there any person or industry the liberals haven't jumped all over? Remember...these are the companies you and I work for.

    December 15, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  59. James

    Glass-Steagall. Nuff said.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  60. Gerald

    You don't need to look any further than your own thoughts and actions to know what happened in the housing bubble, the stock market bubble, etc., etc. As long as everyone 'agees' to keep paying more and more for something that hasn't really changed in value, everything is fine (the great pyramid scheme that is our financial system). The way to maximize your profit is to keep buying bigger, 'more expensive' houses. To realize your profit...you either have to sell and downsize...or you borrow the 'equity'. When the 'equity' disappears...the money disappears.

    Just like all good scams...it's the greed of the mark which makes it work (wire me $1000 so I can make a banking contact to sneak $15M out of Nigeria...I'll give you 10%).

    It wasn't the government 'forcing' banks to loan to underqualified people, and it wasn't the short-sighted bonus seekers bankers...it was all of us 'something for nothing' chasers who created the problem. We saw the 'game' working for others and we didn't want to be left out.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  61. rolandotx

    Gov't caused the problem by forcing banks to make bad loan to people who were not credit worthy. Gov't caused the problem when the forced banks to mark their bad loans, that Gov't forced then to make, to market when there was a temporary panic and no buyers. Gov't forced banks to take TARP money and then wouldn't let them lend it because the regulators made them add to their capital reserves and then wouldn't let them repay it. Gov't made money when they did let banks finally repay. Everyone suffered and now Gov't gets a pay raise, but the banks are the bad guys.

    December 15, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  62. Rick Hartzo

    Well goodmorning, not here to complain but I'm a single father of 4 young adults and in 1995 I had a hydraulic lift drop a car down to the growned while I was standing under it! Since then it has been a nightmare dealing with Soc.Sec. and medicare!!! I have been declared disabled by Doctors but the gov says since I can move my hands and feet I don't qualify for Soc Sec!!! So no medicare for me no help except food stamps and medicaid that ends when my twin turn 18 in just 8 months. Now I have ruptured disc from being hyper flexed backwards pintch nerves and degenative dics decease as well as arthritus I paid my taxes and I have been left in the cold with no help so please let the nation know just how bad our medical and sos ser need to be reformed so people like me can get the help needed to be a productive member of soceity again Thank you and any questions I'll be glad to show where i've been denied 5 times for SSI being a single father the gov just does not care thank you rick hartzo

    December 15, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  63. Spider

    Patrick W. Fiori, Jr. –

    Yep, you are way off base.

    Why is it always because he's black? Couldn't it be that they want to punish us for electing a Democrat? When we elect a latino President, a female President or even an openly gay President is every protest of his/her policies going to be called racist , sexist or homophobic?

    Leave it alone Pat. Blaming every disagreement on racism, pomotes racism.

    Besides, he's half white. If they dislike his color, maybe people don't like the white half.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:50 am |
  64. Rhee Ali Tee

    This mess was caused by banks lending money on overpriced properties. For such irresponsible, greedy behavior, we rewarded the banks by bailing them out of the mess they caused. Now in an attempt to be worse than Bush was, Obama is urging banks to continue their reckless behavior. We are headed for a far worse position than the crisis had us in a year ago. Oh well, there's always Afghanistan, now that will make all Americans rich beyond our wildest dreams.

    December 14, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  65. someone_in_the_biz

    This is such nonesense – the President should "get it" by spending a day running a bank.

    Shame on CNN for not explaining WHY banks are doing what they do. Banking is a relationship business, like selling a product. Bonuses are just that – you make money, you get a bonus. You don't, no bonus. In order to retain the top people you have to pay – you guessed it – bonuses. If a bank doesn't make money, it won't be able to recapitalize and grow stronger.

    I know a number of people who have recenly left – or are considering leaving – banks because they're being lured away by non-TARP-receiving firms offering more lucrative pay packages.

    December 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  66. Carrrie

    Basically, it's not only the BANKS that don't get it .......... OBAMA doesn't get it. He is massively spending money, while the rest of the country is hurting. Obama is doing the same as the banks, and he gives himself a B+. Well, this democrat who regrets voting for Obama gives him an F. I had no idea Obama has NO COMMON SENSE! Obama thinks he and Congress can go on a spending spree, yet the rest of us should be patient for jobs. Well, I plan to fire Obama and his Democrats for their ear mark, Bush on speed spending!

    December 14, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  67. ed

    So the Feds yeah way back to Clinton pushed the banks to loan money they knew they would not get back, blamed the banks for giving them, give bailout money and now they tell them to give more loans out to people that can't pay them back? Barney you still running this scam?

    December 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  68. william morales

    I am honestly on neither side of this debate. By one side obama is right and by the other the banks are right. one is the banks are not giving loans and the other is that if people get loans tjey do not pay them back.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  69. Marie

    How to screw up a fairly good thing....

    1) Speculate in something so basic that everyone has to play along – like housing. If all houses cost 100K minimum, then you have to pay at least that much or do without. If they cost 1 Million, ditto.
    2) Extend loans to comsumers and adjust so all can qualify. Since good paying jobs are outsourced, adjust it to fit minimum wage jobs – all that most of our kids are finding these days.
    3) Let the bubble burst and demand that the govt bail you out while taking a huge paycheck (you earned it, screwing up everything so well).
    4) Nod politely when President says you have to loan more money. Now that most folks credit ratings are in the toilet, you will have good rationale for not loaning at all. It won't be YOUR fault! No, I was just practising good money management – make money even if it kills the country and society! Stupid commoners!

    Scrooge should be very comfortable in his mansion this year!

    December 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  70. KarlB

    I'm not upset with the Banks. From what I've read, they were strong-armed into accepting TARP funds, and were more than willing to give it back to get corrupt politicians out of their business.

    The only people who will not get loans are those that are risky; they way it was before the bubble, they way it should be going forward as we all have seen the damage that creates.

    So what is Obama trying to accomplish? He just needs to tell the private sector that government is done 'tinkering' and let the market naturally recover already.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  71. Jim Nyman

    As huge as the bailout was, evidently it was not big enough.
    Small business lending is at a standstill and thus unemployment continues to be the biggest problem.
    I am afraid banks 'get it' but also know that further contraction awaits.
    Both fear of further decline in asset value and further loss of ability to pay cause further drop in asset value. Tightened lending rules also exacerbate problem.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  72. Philip

    For those asking the question:

    The banks paid interest on the money that was borrowed from the taxpayers. Also, the ownership interest the government took in some
    banks is up 20% and the government is selling those interests as we speak for billions.

    The American people did not get screwed... they made money on the deal.

    Say "Thank You, George!"

    December 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  73. joe J

    They don't get it!!!!! Hell he doesn't get it. He should get big government of their backs and let free enterprise take over. Right now what our country needs is for OBAMA AND HIS CLONES to get off our backs and let America be the America that it was before he started socializing everything he has put his grubby hands on. Small business will thrive if he leaves it alone and quit taxing us to death.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  74. disturban

    The gov't made a ton of cash from their equity & preferred equity stakes in these firms. Rightfully so. The institutions have the gov't to thank for their continued existence.

    But to say there was no gain is wholly incorrect. Now, the federal gov't should use these gains to address the real needs of its citizens, like health care and defense instead of directing it into the pork that politicians squeeze into every bill that passes their desk.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  75. Mike

    All politicians are bought and paid for by the lobbyist who contribute to their campaigns. Anyone who believes differently is a fool. Corruption is guaranteed in our political system since politicians can't get elected without these contributions. They will do what they have to in order to keep the money flowing and that means doing what their largest contributors want. Politicians always talk about change and campaign reform but nothing ever happens. Both parties are corrupt to the core and since any third parties never real get anywhere nothing will change any time soon. The Fed is full of ex-bankers who will return to the banking industry, they are not going to do anything their banker buddies don't want. Banks will continue to stick it to us and the politicians will talk about reform but real reform will never come. Maybe we will get some watered down reform passed but that's about it.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  76. Ray E.

    Whaaa!!!
    The Banks don't get it? Ain't that what caused the problem in the first place. The Government requiring banks to lend money to paople that couldn't afford the house payments and so defaulted? And Obama wants the banks to repeat those failed policies. No way!

    Aw what the hell. The 30's are right down the road so fasten your seat belts folks.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  77. Jane

    I strongly believe that as the circle of people who control the majority of wealth in this country has become smaller, they have become more corrupt. Salaries and benefits are so outrageously out of step with the rest of the economy, that I suspect CEOs have been sitting on each other's company board of trustees to vote on their compensation. Have they come to the point that the compensate themselves without conscience? Yes. To the detriment of their own companies? It certainly seems so. To the detriment of the American people? Most certainly, yes. When group norms have been diminished to the point that responsibility is abdicated, it is time for the government to step in. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  78. Sam

    The fed doesn't have a stick where banks are concerned? GIVE ME A BREAK! The "stick" is the FDIC! Banks that do not adhere to some reasonable form of bonuses or doesn't provide the financial assistance that small to medium businesses need to stir up hiring and innovation should be removed from the protections of the FDIC! Plain and simple! Customers whose money (what little there is) is not protected would, or should, move those monies to a bank that is "insured" and does follow a sensible policy for helping the communities they serve!

    December 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  79. Susan in Sunnyvale

    The banks don't have to "get it". Congress does! and the SEC. The banks and big business need to be better regulated with strict enforcement.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  80. MarkE

    This equates to Utility companies asking for 15% increases and the State DPW Boards only giving them a 7% increase. Like they were doing us a favor. They should have given maybe 1 or 2% but they act live they did some great job only sticking us with a 7% increase. Obama GAVE the banks Billions and Billions of dollars and they're glad to have interest free money. They get the money from us at zero percent and then loan it back yto us at 5 or 6%. They are thieves and the pols just go along with it....

    December 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  81. Patrick W. Fiori, Jr.

    I may be way off base but, I Googled the names of several of the CEO,s of the US major banks. These people are mostly Republican and in looking at their actions regarding Banking charges, loans and lobbying seem to be aimed at punishing the citizens for electing a black President and rejecting their candidates.

    December 14, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  82. Frankie in OC

    Small business is in trouple. A business in trouble cant get a loan, except on an AIG, Goldman S, Bof A, Chase, etc basis.

    I did not see them qualify for a bailout. They coundn't have qualified using prudent business practices, but samll business must qualify based on balance sheet, FICO, etc?

    Only in America!!

    December 14, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  83. Frankie in OC

    Banks don't get it? I disagree. THEY DO!

    This is a phony position, and a play on the American people. Good cop- Bad cop. President Obama, you are telling us there is nothing that you, Congress, and Senate can do???? Good cop,- Bad cop.

    People do not be fooled!!! Banker's own our politians.

    December 14, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  84. Sal

    Can you explain what the American people got in return (outside of the obvious saving the country from financial collapse) for bailing out banks? You're reporting TARP monies repaid, but do banks still owe the American people interest on those loans, did we receive stock or other guarantees from the banks who benefited from the bailout?

    December 14, 2009 at 10:20 am |