Bankers Shrug and Grimace at Obama's Wall Street Speech

Even those financial insiders who are hoping for regulation didn't take Obama's scolding too seriously

This article is from the archive of our partner .

As the Wire covered this morning, Obama's speech addressing Wall Street regulation rekindled pitchfork-waving frustration in columnists. But how did it play among financial insiders and the Street itself?

Many bankers bristle against further regulation, but even among those who hope for an overhaul, few are taking Obama's scolding seriously. If anything, the shrugs and cool reactions only affirm what the New York Times reports today: among those closest to Wall Street, the prospects for reform are dwindling.

Here are the best reactions from insiders:

  • Let Bygones Be Bygones, says Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS in an interview with CNBC. "It would be best to work together rather than make Wall Street the whipping boy for what was going on. A lot of those people are out of the way now. I think we want to do something constructive--the economy needs it, the nation needs it"
  • Hoping to Show Reform Will Hurt Main Street, says Thomas Quaadman in an interview with the Associated Press. Quaadman works for the Chamber's Center for Capital Markets, and says that rules against financial firms "are hurting Main Street...If we're talking about a financial crisis that needs to be addressed, we don't disagree with that, but when you start talking about additional industries that have nothing to do with the financial services industry, why do they need to be part of that additional regulation?"
  • Some Want Regulation, But Can't Take Obama Seriously, writes Bob O'Brien a stock analyst for Barron's. In the first post, he chastised the government for forgetting the one "beneficial outcome of the crisis"--namely, "redrawing the rules and regulations." He criticizes Congress for ignoring "its pledge to rewrite the building code to ensure that another such blaze [as the crisis] never again breaks out." In a second post, he lamented that Obama did nothing more than "wag a finger at traders and bankers," failing to sop up "all this ferocious liquidity that central bankers have splashed all over the global economy."
  • Most Banking CEOs Don't Care, report Elizabeth Williamson and Damien Panetta in the Wall Street Journal. They quote one CEO, Paul Calello of Credit Suisse's global investment bank, who thought it was fine to instill "Wall Street leadership with a broader sense of responsibility." But as the writers dryly noted, "not one CEO from a top U.S. bank was in attendance."
  • Bankers Grimaced at Criticism, writes Andrew Ross Sorkin, reporting on the banker audience reaction to the speech in the New York Times. "Perhaps tellingly, the only time the audience seemed to unanimously nod in approval was when President Obama placed the blame of the financial crisis not just at Wall Street's feet but at the entire nation's."
  • Opposed to Consumer Regulation, reports Kelly Evans in the Wall Street Journal. She quotes Orin Kramer, a partner at a New York Hedge Fund, saying that "Financial institutions don't want more consumer regulation, and regulatory bodies don't want to give up turf."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.