Financial Regulatory Forum

Obama to target excessive financial risk-taking

By Alister Bull and Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, reeling from an election defeat in the U.S. Senate, will propose stricter limits on financial risk-taking on Thursday in a move that may recall Depression-era curbs on banks.

The president will announce a series of measures to cut down on excessive risk-taking as part of a revamp of the country’s financial regulatory system, a senior Obama official said on Wednesday.

The move could also help the White House tap into public rage over Wall Street excess after Obama’s Democratic Party was rebuffed by voters in Massachusetts, who elected Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. senate.

“The proposal will include size and complexity limits specifically on proprietary trading and the White House will work closely with the House and Senate to work this into legislation,” the official said.

Proprietary trading refers to a firm making bets on financial markets with its own money, rather than executing a trade for a client.

ANALYSIS – Obama attacks on banks fall flat but may persist

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s Wall Street bashing fell flat among voters in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean Democrats have ended their anti-bank rhetoric.

Major U.S. banks, which returned to sizable profits and lavish bonuses just months after taxpayers bailed out the financial system, represent a convenient target for politicians to score points with voters.

“It is too easy and ripe and necessary a target for the Obama White House because they’ve been labeled as protecting the banks … during the whole first year of their administration,” said Ethan Siegal, an analyst with the Washington Exchange, a private firms that tracks Congress and the White House for institutional investors.

ANALYSIS-Financial reform push shaken as Obama, Dodd confer

Obama and Dodd to confer    By Kevin Drawbaugh
   WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – As Massachusetts voters handed Democrats a stunning setback, President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd met on Tuesday to discuss the future of financial regulation reform. (more…)

Obama proposes U.S. bank fee, slams Wall Street

By Caren Bohan and Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed Wall Street banks pay up to $117 billion to reimburse taxpayers for the financial bailout, as he slammed bankers for their “massive profits and obscene bonuses.”

Striking a populist tone, Obama called for a fee on the biggest U.S banks to “recover every single dime” the government spent rescuing the financial sector from its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

“My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people,” Obama said, reflecting increasingly harsh rhetoric toward the financial industry.

Obama to propose bank fees to recoup bailout funds

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday will propose major U.S. financial firms pay a fee to protect taxpayers from up to $117 billion in losses on a bank bailout that has spurred fury at Wall Street excess.

Obama, whose action comes amid mounting public anger over multi-million dollar bank bonuses while ordinary Americans struggle in the face of 10 percent unemployment, will announce the plan at 11:50 a.m. (1650 GMT), a senior administration official said.

“The fee that is put forward here is in many ways a minimum — a minimum of what is owed back for the rather significant costs that are borne in many aspects by the taxpayers,” the administration official told reporters.

Obama to announce TARP fee on banks on Thursday

(Updates with background, adds byline)

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will announce plans on Thursday to raise up to $120 billion from major U.S. financial firms to cover expected losses from a taxpayer-funded bank bailout, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Obama’s announcement will come as U.S. unemployment is stuck in double digits and public anger is growing over big bonuses that some financial firms are poised to resume paying, barely a year after the height of the global financial crisis that made the bailout necessary.

The Obama administration official said the amount of money raised from the fees would not exceed $120 billion since this was the higher end of conservative estimates of the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Obama, New York law chief Cuomo target Wall Street bonuses

By Caren Bohan and Jonathan Stempel

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) – The White House and and New York’s top prosecutor attacked excessive Wall Street bonuses, as the nation’s biggest banks prepare to hand out awards critics say were made possible by taxpayer bailouts.

A senior U.S. official also confirmed President Barack Obama is considering a fee on financial services firms as part of the fiscal 2011 budget he will unveil in February.

The proposal reflects tougher approach the White House is taking toward Wall Street as it faces rising political heat over its support for the $700 billion financial bailout begun in the Bush administration.

BREAKINGVIEWS-Geithner needn’t pack his bags — yet

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By James Pethokoukis

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) – U.S. cabinet members tend to lose their support the same way a person goes broke — slowly, then all at once. Timothy Geithner, the embattled U.S. Treasury secretary, still has President Obama’s confidence. Still, he has bled enough that this year could well be his last.

The rap against Geithner is that, as New York Federal Reserve president in 2008, he worked with former Treasury boss Henry Paulson and used AIG  as a conduit to pass bailout money to struggling financial firms such as Goldman Sachs  and Deutsche Bank. Critics also say that since joining Team Obama, Geithner has pushed an impotent financial reform package that fails to limit the size or complexity of U.S. financial institutions.

Obama tells US bankers it’s payback time

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told top U.S. bankers on Monday they owed the country their help in lifting the economy out of crisis and implored them to lend more money and to get behind financial reforms.

“Given the difficulty that businesspeople are having as lending has declined, and given the exceptional assistance banks received to get them through a difficult time, we expect them to explore every responsible way to help get our economy moving again,” Obama said.

After speaking at the White House to executives of a dozen major financial firms, Obama said that, having benefited from taxpayer bailouts, they owed “an extraordinary commitment” to help rebuild the economy.

Obama pushes plans for more job creation

By Alister Bull and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered modest steps to spur jobs and defended his push to get the U.S. economy growing, amid deep public dismay over double-digit unemployment that has eroded his popularity.

Obama proposed small business tax cuts and energy efficiency rebates — a so-called cash-for-caulkers program — to boost jobs, but gave no details on the cost of the action.

He also called for an extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits for the more than 15 million out-of-work Americans, and stressed that reducing the jobless rate was the best way to tackle the country’s record deficit.

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