"The president noted that the Fed is going to take a certain amount of action and Congress is likely to take additional action," he said. "The president supports that additional action and will be working in Congress to ensure that that reaches his desk very soon."
Recent rate increases and other fee hikes by banks have been especially unwelcome given the billions that taxpayers have spent shoring up now-profitable banks through the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, critics say.
The American Bankers Association, a bank industry group that attended the meeting, said in a statement issued today that banks were working hard to implement the rules announced by the Federal Reserve.
But banks contend that they still have recession-related woes: Though several major banks have announced higher-than-expected profits for the first three months of the year, they're also seeing escalating losses in their credit card businesses thanks in part to consumers who default on their credit card loans.
Last year, major credit card issuers like Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, American Express and Discover all wrote off hundreds of millions more in bad credit loans than they had the year before, according to Highline Financial, a Texas-based financial analysis firm.
The trend continued this year: Citigroup, which has received $50 billion in TARP funds, saw its credit card business revenue decline more than $800 million for the first three months of the year in comparison to 2008. Bank of America, which got a $45 billion TARP injection, wrote off nearly $3.8 billion in defaulted loans in first three months of 2009, an increase of nearly $1.4 billion over last year.
Increased interest rates for some Bank of America customers "is about properly pricing our portfolio either based on risk or realigning a portion of the portfolio that is priced below what is prudent in the current market," bank spokeswoman Betty Reiss recently told ABCNews.com
Scott Talbot, the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lending industry group, said banks need to keep their profits up -- including credit card profits -- to repay the government.
Because the government has invested in the banks, "the taxpayers need the banks to make money from all lines -- that's their job," he said.
While banks may been eager to attend today's White House meeting -- an industry source told ABC News that some banks had been pushing for invitations -- they're objecting to the proposed credit card rules, including one that that will allow credit card companies to raise rates on existing credit card balances only when card holders are more than 30 days late, when they are receiving a promotional interest rate with a defined expiration date, or if the interest rate is tied to a specific market index, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate.
That provision is included in both the Federal Reserve's new rules and legislation sponsored by Maloney that was passed Wednesday by the House Financial Services Committee.
Kenneth J. Clayton, of the American Bankers Association, said in statement Wednesday that the Maloney bill could have "a negative effect on lenders' ability to offer reasonably priced credit to consumers and may make matters worse for the broader economy."
Edward L. Yingling, the association's president, reiterated those concerns in a statement issued today.