Obama seeks support from bank executives

Obama seeks support from bank executivesWashington - US President Barack Obama was to court support from banking executives later Friday in an effort to transcend the furious standoff between the public and the industry over bailouts and bonuses.

The meeting at the White House was to include chief executive officers Vikram Pandit of Citigroup Inc, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

A total of 15 executives from the nation's largest banks were to join the meeting, Bloomberg financial news service reported.

"This is about our duty to do everything we can to support a robust and sustained economic expansion and the reality that the countrys major financial institutions have a major role to play," Lawrence Summers, Obamas top economic adviser, said.

Over the past week, Obama's administration has launched detailed plans to stabilize financial markets, including a huge programme to mop up toxic assets that are at the root of the worsening recession.

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also signalled to Congress his plans to create more oversight for the non-banking financial industry - hedge funds, private equity firms and derivatives markets - that created shaky investment instruments in the toxic assets.

Obama is pushing for banks to free up credit in proportion to the amount of money they have received from the government in its massive, trillion-dollar-plus rescue effort, but so far there has been little effect on credit availability.

He also faces a public angry over the way in which firms like American International Group (AIG) used public money to pay huge million-dollar-plus bonuses to its workers.

Industry representatives told Bloomberg that said they will emphasize the vital link between the financial-services industry and the broader economic recovery.

For the economy to recover, for the stimulus to work, Main Street and Wall Street have to work hand in hand," said Rob Nichols, a former Treasury official and now president of the Financial Services Forum in Washington. (dpa)

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