President Clinton scolded the banking industry last week for lobbying Congress to eliminate his direct student loan program.

In a roundtable discussion last week with students at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., the president said the banking industry is putting profits ahead of what's best for students.

"Banks used to make a lot of money doing this, and they want their money back," President Clinton told the college students, who said they were benefiting from the direct loan program.

"It's just classic - it's a special interest group that overlooks the fact that the stories you all have told are good stories for America's future," the President said.

The President also took a swing at Republicans for changing budget scoring rules to include direct loan administrative expenses in program cost estimates. Under these new budget rules, the Congressional Budget Office said eliminating the direct loan program would save the government $1.5 billion by the year 2002.

"The new majority in Congress got the people who run their budget office to pull an incredible gimmick," President Clinton said. "I mean, that's the kind of stuff that's going on up there."

***

Texas football vs. fair housing. On the weekends, football wins out for Roberta Achtenberg's replacement as the Department of Housing and Urban Development's assistant secretary for fair housing.

Elizabeth Julian told the Consumer Bankers Association that she flies home to Dallas every weekend so she can watch her children in their big games.

***

Does the Federal Reserve Board need a morale officer? To hear Fed Gov. Lawrence B. Lindsey speak, the answer might just be yes. Mr. Lindsey complimented organizers of last week's Carnegie Mellon Global Outlook Conference for inviting him to speak two years in a row. "I am deeply honored to be back," Mr. Lindsey said. "You see, central bankers are such a dreary and depressing lot that we rarely get return invitations."

***

Some thrift executives may be unhappy with demands that the savings and loan charter be done away with.

But not Stephen J. Trafton, chairman and chief executive of the country's seventh-largest thrift, Glendale Federal Bank. Writing a commentary in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trafton said it's time to kill off the "inherently flawed" thrift charter because it "limits institutions to residential mortgages, which are dangerously vulnerable to interest-rate cycles."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.