Obama criticises banks over lending

PRESIDENT Barack Obama took top US bankers to task yesterday, telling them to lend more money to small businesses and to embrace financial reforms.

A day after calling bankers “fat cats,” Obama said since they had benefited from taxpayer bailouts they owed “an extraordinary commitment” to help rebuild the economy.

“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 told executives of a dozen major banks at a meeting that lasted one and a half hours.

Bank of America pledged to increase loans to small firms by at least $5bn (£3bn) over the next year.