Lecture 2

As U.S. banks recovered with the help of American government and the American taxpayers, president Obama held meetings with top bank executives, telling them it’s time to return the favor. “The way I see it are banks now having a greater obligation to the goal of a wide recovery,” he said. But the president may be giving the financial sector too much credit. “It was in a free fall, and it was a very scary period.” Economist Martin Neil Baily said. After the failure of Lehman Brothers, many of the world’s largest banks feared the worst as the collapse of the housing bubble exposed in investments in risky loans.

Although he says the worst is just over, Bailey says the banking crisis is not. More than 130 US banks failed in 2009. He predicts high failure rates for smaller, regional banks in 2010 as commercial real estate loans come due.

"So there may actually be a worsening of credit availability to small and medium sized businesses in the next year or so."

Analysts say the biggest problem is high unemployment, which weakens demand and makes banks reluctant to lend. But US Bankcorp chief Richard Davis sees the situation differently.

"We're probably more optimistic than the experts might be.

With that in mind, we're putting everything we can, lending is the coal to our engine, so we want to make more loans. We have to find a way to qualify more people and not put ourselves at risk."

While some economists predict continued recovery in the future, Baily says the only certainty is that banks are unlikely to make the same mistakes - twice. "You know, forecasting's become a very hazardous business so I don't want to commit myself too much. I don't think we know exactly what's going to happen but it's certainly possible that we could get very slow growth over the next year or two.”

If the economy starts to shrink again, Baily says it would make a strong case for a second stimulus -- something the Obama administration hopes will not be necessary.

Q19. What dose president Obama hope the banks will do?

Q20. What is Martin Neil Baily’s prediction about the financial situation in the future?

Q21. What does U.S. Bankcorp chief Richard Davis say about its future operation?

Q22. What does Martin Neil Baily think of a second stimulus to the economy?