On Monday, President Barack Obama met with the leaders of the nation’s largest financial institutions and demanded that they put forth an "extraordinary" effort to help aid the struggling economy.
Obama urged bank directors to boost lending to small businesses and curtail large bonuses for top executives. He also asked banks not to stand in the way of potential financial regulatory reform aimed to safeguard its customers.
"No one wants banks making the kinds of risky loans that got us into this situation in the first place," he said, "but given the difficulty 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."
The president had set an ominous tone for the meeting during his Sunday night 60 Minutes interview when he referred to Wall Street bankers as a "bunch of fat cats" whom he did not feel an obligation to help.
Meanwhile, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele warned Obama that he "should recognize that banks aren’t going to lend money to people who won’t pay them back. Banks can open the floodgates of cash, but you have inability of small business owners to pay back the loans."
Steele told NBC’s Today show that less regulation is what would return small businesses to profitability, according to FoxNews.com.