Obama to discuss financial reform one year after Lehman collapse

One year ago this week, Lehman Brothers' employees were seen leaving the building with boxes.
President Barack Obama will call for quicker action on financial reform during a speech Monday that coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, the White House said.

Obama will discuss plans to reduce government involvement in the financial sector, and urge reform and global coordination to prevent another financial crisis, administration officials said. “We’ve had to do some extraordinary things … to rescue the financial system, to ensure that our domestic auto industry didn’t go out of business and to stimulate the economy,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The president doesn’t want to be somebody who runs auto companies or bails out banks.” Obama also will discuss “the aggressive steps the administration has taken to bring the economy back from the brink,” the White House said. The collapse of Lehman Brothers plunged an already hard-hit economy into crisis mode. Lehman’s administrator Tony Lomas on the future of Lehmans Monday’s speech at Federal Hall in New York City will urge financial groups to support reforms of the regulatory system and avoid Wall Street practices that sent the nation’s economy reeling, officials said. Are you surprised by state of the global economy one year after the crash Sound Off below

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Various members of the financial community, congressional lawmakers and consumer advocates will attend the speech. A month after taking office, Obama urged Congress to move fast to reform the “outdated” system of financial oversight and install “tough, new common-sense rules of the road” for Wall Street. Lawmakers have moved sluggishly on changes that have been scaled back from those originally envisioned. One of the most far-reaching proposals — creating an agency to regulate consumer financial products like mortgages and credit cards — has taken a beating by industry lobbyists. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has pledged an additional $2 million, and probably more, to a campaign to kill it. As the economy improves and the health-care fight absorbs more congressional energy, momentum to overhaul the financial system is waning.

“The clock is ticking and we’re at a crossroads,” said Travis Plunkett, chief lobbyist for the Consumer Federation of America. “If we don’t see a substantial move this fall, financial reform may wither on the vine.” The biggest push so far happened this spring, when Congress passed changes to credit card laws aimed at helping consumers buried in debt.