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Obama Banking Plan Focuses on Regulation, Credit Thaw

President Obama met with banking officials Friday at the White House to discuss financial strategies that will help unfreeze the credit markets and shore up capital. Analysts assess the plan and what it might mean for banks around the country.

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    After a week in which President Obama laid out some big proposals to cope with the financial crisis, he invited some of the industry's biggest players to the White House today.

    About a dozen CEOs from leading banks and financial institutions met with the president this afternoon. When it was over, all pledged cooperation in the months ahead.

    Here's what John Stumpf of Wells Fargo told reporters afterwards.

  • JOHN STUMPF, CEO, Wells Fargo:

    We're all in this together. And the president invited us here today. We think that was a wonderful idea. It was a great opportunity for us to exchange ideas.

    And we have a very common purpose here: turn this economy around, get people working again, you know, lend money, jobs, all those kinds of things. So it was very much a common theme throughout it.


    Edward Yingling was at the White House meeting today, as well. He's president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, the largest banking trade association in the country.

    Also with us once again is David Wessel, economics editor for the Wall Street Journal.

    Mr. Yingling, let's start with you, this meeting today. What were the concerns of the bankers? What did your people feel they had to tell the president?

  • EDWARD YINGLING, American Bankers Association:

    I think the main concern is that we need consistent policies and we need to build confidence in the financial system. And we think we're getting there.

    We've had since last fall a lot of zigzags in terms of policy. It's confused the public, understandably. Frankly, it's confused the banking system.


    I'm sorry. But you mean zigzags from the administration on what it wants to do?


    From the policymakers, yes. We've had different programs. The programs have changed their focus. And so it's been confusing to the public and to the banking system.

    We think now that the administration has put forward a consistent program, we think they have good people in place, and we think maybe we've reached a turning point here, in terms of this financial mess.

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