Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Just “okay”

February 10, 2012

It was a long slog to the government’s mortgage abuse settlement with top banks, one in which officials slept in their offices and worked round the clock. And yet, a consumer advocate looking out for those who lost homes to foreclosure can only muster an “it’s okay.”

from Summit Notebook:

ABA’s Yingling sees danger in rhetoric: it’s Wall Street, not banks

April 26, 2010

REGULATION-SUMMITEd Yingling, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, is a little worried about the rhetoric that's been flying around as Congress tries to produce financial reform legislation.

Warren sees dark times if financial reform fails

February 25, 2010


Elizabeth Warren paints a disturbing picture of the realities facing the United States and the Obama administration as Americans claw their way clear of the worst recession since the 1930s.

First Draft: Jobs, jobs, jobs

May 8, 2009

USA/Today, as ever, it’s all about jobs. War, pestilence (in the form of the H1N1 flu), a big gas explosion at a shopping mall outside Washington, the re-opening of the Statue of Liberty’s crown — all these take a back seat to jobs, especially in a recession. And especially after this week’s “stress test” results for banks, when the unemployed might well be asking, “OK, the big banks got their bailout. Where’s ours?”

The First Draft: Details

May 7, 2009

OBAMA/The devil’s in the details, the saying goes, and we’ll find out plenty of details today about two big initiatives of the Obama administration: the budget and the bank bailout.

First draft: Talking to Afghans, Pakistanis

May 6, 2009

AFGHAN/KARZAIPresident Barack Obama will jump into the thorny issue of Afghan-Pakistani relations today as he meets with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

Obama looks to end banks’ role in federal student loans

April 25, 2009

Poor bankers. Just as they’re catching flak for everything from the global financial crisis to high credit card interest rates, along comes the president and adds another grievance. Barack Obama, it seems, thinks using banks to dole out federal college loan funds is a waste of taxpayer money.OBAMA/ So on Friday he discussed his scheme to boost the flow of federal dollars to those looking to get a higher education. To pay for it, he said, “we’re going to eliminate waste, reduce inefficiency and cut what we don’t need to pay for what we do.” Look out banks. Obama said there are two kinds of federal education loans — direct loans and Federal Family Education Loans. Under direct loans, tax dollars go directly to help students pay for tuition, “not to pad the profits of private lenders,” he said. But under the FFEL program, “taxpayers are paying banks a premium to act as middlemen — a premium that costs the American people billions of dollars each year,” he added.The loans are federally backed, so the banks don’t even have to take on significant risk. Cutting out the middleman, Obama said, could save the government tens of billions of dollars that it could use to help more students. But making that change won’t be easy, he said. “The banks and the lenders who have reaped a windfall from these subsidies have mobilized an army of lobbyists to try to keep things the way they are.” “They are gearing up for battle. So am I,” Obama said. “For those who care about America’s future, this is a battle we can’t afford to lose. For more Reuters political news, click here.Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (President Obama discusses federal education programs in front of a portrait of George Washington)

First Draft: Afghan plan

March 27, 2009

President Barack Obama to announce plan to send more troops to Afghanistan to help stabilize the country after Democrats for years criticized his predecessor, George W. Bush, of ignoring that war because of Iraq.

Bold budget boosts bailout

February 27, 2009

USA-OBAMA/How do you buy $750 billion of toxic bank assets with only $250 billion of taxpayer money?

Fed Chair: No Night of Living Dead Banks

February 25, 2009

They won’t stay dead!


Members of the U.S. Senate grilled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday on whether the next gruesome episode in the U.S. economic horror show could include an appearance of “zombie” banks.