Obama to urge regulatory reform in Lehman anniversary speech

By Reuters Staff
September 11, 2009

The exterior of the world headquarters for Lehman Brothers is seen in New York September 15, 2008,  after the firm filed for bankruptcy protection. Lehman was one of the biggest investment banks to collapse since 1990 when Drexel Burnham Lambert filed for bankruptcy protection amid a collapse in the junk bond market.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES) WASHINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s speech in New York on Monday will focus on financial reform and the need to strengthen the system to avoid another economic collapse, the White House said on Friday.

The speech, a year after the fall of Lehman Brothers, will note that the economy has improved but there is still more to do to safeguard it for the future, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

“The speech on Monday will focus on the need to take
the next series of steps on financial regulatory reform to ensure what happened a year ago … doesn’t happen again and cause the type of havoc that we’ve seen in our economy,” Gibbs told reporters.

The collapse of Lehman last year triggered a worldwide financial crisis and accelerated Obama’s race for the presidency. The Democrat, who made financial regulatory reform a key platform of his candidacy, was seen as having a cool and pragmatic reaction to the country’s economic woes.

Lehman, once the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank,
filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 15, 2008, in the
largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

The Obama administration’s ambitious plan to overhaul U.S. financial regulation is bogged down in Congress but Obama hopes for results by year-end. Proposed changes call for tighter regulation of banks and capital markets to better protect consumers.

“We’ve outlined our financial plan and are working with Congress to implement it,” said Gibbs. “We want to demonstrate again why it’s so important, why we need to move forward.”

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