"It's not a problem that's insoluble," he said. "And I think you've got to recognize that when you have assets that are impaired, you've got to isolate them and deal with them. But where we have other assets that are not impaired, banks can keep working through them. And I think we've got to recognize that once we get the impaired assets isolated, the banking system has got to start lending again."
During a joint photo opportunity with Brown in the Oval Office Obama encouraged Americans to invest in the stock market, saying stocks were so low there were potentials for good deals.
"What we're now seeing is profit and earnings ratios starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal, if you've got a long-term perspective on it," Obama said.
Brown, who, as former chancellor of the exchequer, in many ways ran the British economy for 10 years, declined to give any tips.
"Well, I would never go into the business when I'm either a finance minister or just advising people what stocks to buy or the timing of it," he said. "But it's clear that at some point, the markets get into a position where there are benefits to be made as well as losses.
"Of course I take responsibility for what happens in the economy," he said. "We have made big proposals of changes in the regulatory system. I think every country is now having to do this as a result of what's happened to their economy. But at the same time, we've taken very swift action -- start with recapitalizing the banking system when the system is at the point of collapse. I think we helped stop the banks' collapse in the autumn."
Brown said he looks forward to his next meeting with Obama, in London this spring at the G-20 Summit.
"[The] purpose of me being here, and then the purpose of President Obama coming to London on April the 2nd, is to work with all of the world leaders and to make sure that we're taking all of the actions that are necessary to build the confidence that the world economy now needs," he said.