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.
He said that meant finding ways to help credit-worthy small- and medium-size businesses get the loans they need.
U.S. business lending has plummeted since the financial crisis struck from a peak of $1.65 trillion in October 2008 to around $1.35 trillion earlier this month.