Obama to meet with bank CEOs

The President will sit down with bank executives on Monday to discuss lending and industry reform legislation.

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By David Ellis, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Obama will meet with the chief executives of several big banks next week, in an effort to help spur greater lending to consumers and small businesses, two senior White House officials told CNN Wednesday.

The president is also expected to discuss the sweeping financial regulatory reform package that the administration is currently trying to push through Congress during Monday's scheduled meeting.

Officials said that the list of attendees has not yet been finalized, but that it is likely that executives from some of the nation's biggest banks will be present.

The extent to which banks have been willing to lend has been a sore point in Washington, after the U.S. government pumped billions into the banking sector over the past year in an effort to get the economy back on track.

Consumers and small businesses in particular contend that loans are still tough to come by.

But banks argue that the issue not that simple. On the one hand, lenders say that the appetite for new loans has fallen dramatically in recent months as consumers and businesses alike have instead become focused on paying down debt.

At the same time, banks have been trying to avoid the same loose lending practices that many critics have blamed for fueling the collapse in the U.S. housing market and massive consumer loan losses.

"They are saying lend, lend, lend, but bad loans got us into trouble in the first place," said one bank executive, who declined to be named.

"We are not going to make bad loans just to kiss up to Obama."

Monday's meeting would mark the second time that the president has convened with leaders from the banking industry. Last March, more than a dozen top executives met with the president, agreeing to work with the administration on its economic recovery plan.

Among those in attendance were Morgan Stanley's (MS, Fortune 500) John Mack, Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) chief Lloyd Blankfein as well as Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) CEO Ken Lewis.

News of the Monday's summit comes just one day after President Obama proposed redirecting a certain portion of bailout money left over from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help create jobs and provide aid to Main Street consumers and businesses.

--Ed Henry, CNN's senior White House correspondent, contributed to this report To top of page

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