Obama lashes out at Wall Street

Obama lashes out at Wall Street

President Obama speaks about the financial crisis, on the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, on Monday, at Federal Hall in Wall Street. AP

"The old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand," the US leader said, in an outspoken address delivered in the shadow of US finance firms he blamed for unleashing global contagion. "History cannot be allowed to repeat itself."

A year after Lehman Brothers failed, triggering the meltdown, Obama also called on Congress to act this year on regulatory reforms he hailed as the most sweeping bid to tame industry over-exuberance since the Great Depression.

While blaming much of the crisis on the United States, Obama made clear a week ahead of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh that he would press global powers to do more to rein in finance industry abuses.

But his prime message after travelling to historic Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York was that, as the economy slowly mends, some key players in America's finance sector were willfully ignoring the lessons of the crisis.

"They do so not just at their own peril, but at our nation's," Obama said, noting that many big Wall Street banks and finance house had received huge government bailouts at taxpayer expense.

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