Bankers to Obama: Stop trashing usby Tim Manni
They’re the group everyone loves to hate, but there’s a danger in using a broad brush:
The American Bankers Association has a message for the president: Stop talking trash about banks.
In his unofficial State of the Union address Tuesday night, Barack Obama said that it’s “unpopular … to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions.”
In a letter to the White House, ABA CEO Edward Yingling says bankers across the country were “disappointed and concerned” with rhetoric like that.
“Mr. President, of the over 8,000 banks in this country, very few ever made a single subprime loan, and they did not engage in the highly leveraged activities that brought down Wall Street firms,” Yingling said.
They have a point, of course. “Bank” is loosely, and often incorrectly, used to describe an overbroad swath of the financial markets. Moreover, demonizing “banks” is not only unfair, it’s dangerous:
“Mr. President, the failure to distinguish between Wall Street and the thousands of FDIC-insured banks across the country undermines the confidence in our banking industry, the industry which is the foundation on which our economic recovery must be built,” Yingling said.