WASHINGTON — President Obama is far removed from his harsh criticism of big banks coming out of the crisis, but his State of the Union speech Tuesday night could still provide a crucial glimpse into the administration's thinking on financial policy issues.

Tuesday's speech is not expected to contain as much attention to banking as when Obama addressed the nation early in his presidency, when financial institutions were reeling. But observers expect at least some mention of housing finance reform as lawmakers continue debate on what system should replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Commentators said Obama also may use the speech to tout steps his administration has taken to implement financial reform.

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