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U.S. Bancorp Chief: Obama Told Us to Tell Our Story


U.S. Bancorp chief executive Richard Davis, one of of the big bank executives summoned to meet with President Obama at the White House today, said bankers "understand the anger around executive compensation" and that the "have not done a good job of telling our story."

Davis said Obama told the bankers, who have been largely quiet during this crisis -- except when they've been hauled before Congress -- they need to be more public to respond to consumer anger.

U.S. Bancorp, a large, Midwestern bank that did not deal in exotic financial instruments such as credit default swaps, received $6.5 billion in government bailout money.

Davis said it is his goal to pay back the money "whenever it is appropriate" and to "say thank you" to American taxpayers.

Davis made his remarks during a CNBC interview with Erin Burnett.

Earlier, Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack said that his bank won't make a decision on repaying its bailout money until the federal "stress test" on the bank is completed and he has consulted with his board.

Mack tipped a cap to federal regulators, saying that they see "the whole economy" while bankers like him only "see pieces."

Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said "we are very anxious for the stress test results to come out," which he expects by mid-April.

Bank of New York Mellon Chief: Stock Rally Underway Is 'Real'

2:17 P.M.: Bank of New York Mellon chief executive Bob Kelly said he believes the current stock market rally is "real" but said that economic recovery won't occur until the housing market is stabilized.

Kelly and a number of other big bank chief executives met with President Obama today for an update on the economy and sat for interviews with Burnett outside the White House as they exited.

Burnett asked Kelly if he believes the current three-week stock rally is a "dead-cat bounce," a term of art for a rally in which stocks briefly jump up off the bottom then settle back down.

"You know, I don't think so," Kelly said. "I think this is real."

Kelly said he is looking forward to the day when housing prices tick up or at least stabilize in a few major cities, which would signal a recovery to him.

Bank of America's Lewis: I Don't Think 90 Percent AIG Bonus Tax Will Become Law

2:06 P.M.: Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis said he does not expect the punitive 90 percent "AIG bonus tax" to become law, in an interview moments ago on CNBC.

Last week, the House passed a bill that would impose a tax of 90 percent on executive bonuses of more than $125,000, targeted at the controversial AIG bonuses. Senate Republicans have been trying to stall the bill.

"I got the impression from him and from things going on behind the scenes that cooler heads are going to prevail and nothing that punitive will be done," Lewis told CNBC's Erin Burnett. "I feel pretty confident that the answers we saw so far will not be the final answers."

Lewis repeated his claim from last month that Bank of America will give back its government money "as soon as it can."

JP Morgan's Dimon: We Banks Owe 'Mea Culpa'

1:45 P.M. JP Morgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon said moments ago that his bank does not have to raise more money, that March was "a little tougher" than the first two months of the year and that "there's a pretty big mea culpa" due from the big banks like his, in an interview following the bank executives's audience with Obama.

Obama is meeting with of some of the top executives of the nation's biggest banks at the White House this morning.

Last month, Dimon announced JP Morgan was cutting its dividend while saying it was profitable through the first two months of this year.

"The only reason we did that was so there wouldn't be fear in market over the dividend cut," Dimon said.

Obama Invites Heads Of Big Banks To White House

9:20 A.M.: Obama invited banks and financial institutions include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of New York/Mellon, Northern Trust, PNC Financial, State Street, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, USBancorp, Wells Fargo, American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable, according to Reuters.

10:31 A.M. UPDATE:

Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack left his meeting with Obama moments ago and JP Morgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon is heading in for his audience.

The president wants to hear directly from the chief executives of the firms, most of which have taken government bailout money, and to reemphasize his message that the culture of Wall Street must change.

"Our future is inextricably linked to these financial institutions, and their future is linked to the economic health of the country," Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, told the Associated Press.

In the game of slap-and-tickle, carrot-and-stick that the president has been playing with the big banks, Wall Street is hoping today is more of a tickle/carrot kind of day. CNBC's Bob Pisani characterized trader sentiment as hopeful that Obama will play "good cop" today.

Nevertheless, Obama is expected to hammer home his message on what he considers excessive executive compensation and other Wall Street practices that have fueled populist outrage.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  March 27, 2009; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, Obama  
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Of course the banks should be ecstatic. Obama and Geithner are passing off the toxic debts from the banks to We the People. The bankers should be doing hand springs down the White House lawn. Wait until the size of the debt being passed off by the government to the Public becomes known. Will Obama,Geithner, Reid, Dodd, Franks and Pelosi feign outrage, we didn't know, the Bart Simpson defense?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 27, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

God help us! The last time Obama met with a bunch of business "leaders" it was hi-tech executives, about four weeks ago. I still remember the front page photo on the Post where he and Palmisano were snuggling up, with executive from Hp, Microsoft, etc. all looking, so perky! Since then, these corporate Benedict Arnold's have laid off how many tens of thousands of American workers, outsourcing their jobs to India? Every last one of them is lined up for "stimulus" money, too. So, with Obama meeting with he bankers, I figure our credit card interest rates will automatically jump to 30% or, maybe, they will be allowed get out of jail cards for any consumer fraud they work in the next 90 days? Based on past history, it ain't going to be pretty and it will hurt us.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 27, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

The banks are thrilled with Obama he is giving them everything they want by stealing money from all of us.
The toxic asset auction is a scam. It will be the banks bidding on the very assets they hold using thrid parties. Congress has done nothing to prevent a bank from doing this.
For example (simplified for the sake of clarity)
BOA has a toxic asset they paid $100 for, the market won't pay more than $30 for it now, BOA bids using a third party, $100 for that asset bcuz under the terms of the auction the bidder only has to pay 10%, the treasury pays 10% and the FED pays the additional 80%.
As in BOA will pay $10 to purchase their own toxic asset but they will recieve $100, now they still own the asset but have been paid off in full for it.
There are no private investors only banks bidding on their own assets!

Posted by: dawnisis | March 27, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

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