15 Sep 2009

Obama warns bankers to learn lessons

9:40 pm on 15 September 2009

US President Barack Obama has warned bankers against complacency, saying that some in the industry are ignoring the lessons of the financial crisis.

In a speech marking the first anniversary since the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank he called on Wall Street to support "the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression".

He said bankers should not expect US taxpayers to bail them out again, the BBC reports.

Mr Obama said his administration was working on an overhaul of the regulatory system under which the White House would give the central bank new powers over huge financial firms and the ability to seize banks whose collapse could threaten the economy.

He also wants a new watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, to oversee products such as mortgages, car loans and credit cards. The Federal Trade Commission would also be given new powers to protect consumers.

The proposals have faced opposition from the banking industry and been tied up in Congress, which has been bogged down with Mr Obama's healthcare reform proposals.

The White House has said its massive $US787b stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed earlier this year, has created up to 1.1 million jobs and boosted economic activity.

Some opinion polls have showed that most Americans believe the stimulus plan is having no impact. The White House claims it boosted US GDP by 2-3% between April and June.

Support for stimulus and regulation

Figures just out suggest strong support from people across the world for governments stimulating and regulating their national economies.

The poll of 22,000 people in 20 countries, commissioned by the BBC World Service, found majority support for government stimuli in 13 of them.