Summers to Bankers: ‘They’ve Got Obligations’

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 13, 2009 10:36am

When I asked top White House economic advisor Larry Summers if the President needs to encourage banks to do more lending, he told me that bankers “need to recognize that they’ve got obligations to the country after all that’s been done for them, and there is a lot more they can do.”


Tomorrow, the President will meet with heads of the country’s biggest banks and Summers told me the White House has a blunt message: “President Obama is going to be talking with them about what they can do to support enhanced lending to customers across the country.

“We were there for them. And the banks need to do everything they can to be sure they’re there for customers across this country.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor agreed that there is a problem with scarce lending, but didn’t blame the bankers.

Cantor told me there is, “no question that there is a still a deprivation of credit in this country for small businesses. And when the president meets with the bankers, I hope that the discussion centers on what seems to be a real overreaction, if you will, on the part of some auditors in the regulatory arena that are looking at risk taking as something that just shouldn’t be done at all.”

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