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US banks hit for six by new government penalty fees

US banking giants have reacted with fury to today's announcement from president Obama that he will be trying to push through a "financial crisis responsibility fee" which could cost some of the US's largest banks as much as $2 billion a year. The proposed fee is intended to ensure that taxpayers in the US are repaid the $117 billion which the US government is expected to lose from the bailout of the US financial system.

While there is no doubt that taxpayers in the US, as in the UK, have been hit hard by the banking bailout, is this the right time to be penalising US banks just as they are starting to get back on their feet. It is worth remembering that we have seen a massive change in the US banking landscape with some of the best-known names in the industry no longer trading. Whether this is a politically motivated manoeuvre by the president Obama is open to debate but there is no doubt it is controversial but will likely receive a mark of approval from US taxpayers.

As in the UK, US banking giants have been branded as the "devil in disguise" and have felt the wrath of US taxpayers.

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