Obama and Bankers Meet at White House


So, there I was waiting all day to see what happened at The White House yesterday when President Obama was to have hosted an emergency and top priority meeting with the heads of our nation’s largest and most sophisticated, too-big-to-fail, financial institutions, which today are all “banks” in order to receive TARP funds.

After last week’s disclosure by the Treasury that there are something like 698,000 “trial modifications” underway, but only 30,000 (and change) permanent modifications, I’m thinking some heads will roll.  I mean… that’s the kind of performance statistic you’d expect to come out of the handling of Hurricane Katrina.  As Desi would have said: Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.  Someone has to be fired, right?  Dubya has got to be laughing his ass off in Crawford, don’t you think?


The tone for meeting was established the night before when “60 Minutes” aired an interview with Obama in which the president was quoted as saying: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

Oooh… Snap.  Get ‘em Barack.  Word up… Barack’s in the house.

Robert Kelly, the chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon, Richard K. Davis, the chief executive of U.S. Bancorp, and James E. Rohr, the chief executive of PNC were all there.  They posed for a photo in front of The White House, and if you didn’t get a chance to see it, let me just say that it looks to me like at least two of the three passed away back in ‘03.

Now, this would not be the first time these bankers have had to come to Washington to be allegedly dressed down by one member of the administration or another.  This time, something is going to happen, I figured.  There’s no way Obama is just going to continue running in place this time out, because that would look too stupid, right?


It was The New York Times coming in first place with the story.  The venerable news giant ran the headline:

“Obama Tells Bankers That Lending Can Spur Economy.”

Oh goodie… I thought… he decided to bring the bankers to D.C. for a freshman year Econ 101 class.  Maybe next he’ll cover the whole supply and demand thing.

The story opened with the following:

“President Obama pressured the heads of the nation’s biggest banks on Monday to take “extraordinary” steps to revive lending for small businesses and homeowners, drawing a firm commitment from one large bank to make more loans and vaguer assurances from others.

The others gave “vaguer assurances” than the one who gave the “firm commitment” to “make more loans”?  That’s what I get from The New York Times these days?  Wow… I’ve heard newspapers have been struggling lately, but I had no idea.

The Times also said that Obama sent a “clear message” that the industry had a responsibility to “help nurse the economy back to health and do more to create jobs in return for the bailout last year that kept Wall Street and the banking system afloat.”

Well, okay then.  That was certainly clear.  They have to “do more”.  I guess it’s time to head back to New York for cocktails at the Wasp & Jewless Club.

The Times also noted that the three largest banks didn’t make the meeting.  So, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were absent… something about getting stuck in the fog, which is pretty much like saying: “Tell Barry to come here, we’re busy handing out billions in holiday bonuses.”  Anyway… they didn’t miss much… I almost positive that the CEOs of those three financial powerhouses have already taken freshman economics.

After the meeting Obama Said:

“America’s banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry.  Now that they’re back on their feet we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy.”

Oh, you know what… stop treating me like I’m a stupid child… the banks are NOT back on their feet in any way, shape, or form… period.  In fact, the banks have the same problems they did a year ago.  Now, does Obama truly not know this?  Or is he lying?  Hell, I don’t even actually care anymore.

Then the story ended with Rahm Emanuel saying something about how they needed to get the bankers to lend more because that would help the economy.

And then one of the bankers, referring to Obama’s “60 Minutes” appearance said that Obama didn’t call them names… blah, blah, blah…… blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah, blah……blah, blah,blah……

Oh my God.  Back to bed.

Mandelman out.

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