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Obama says bank bailout may cost more than expected

world Updated: Feb 25, 2009 08:43 IST

US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that a massive bailout of troubled US banks might cost more than anticipated and assured Americans that their saving deposits were safe.

He said a plan unveiled recently to shore up banks grappling with bad assets "will require significant resources from the federal government -- and yes, probably more than we've already set aside."

The Treasury unveiled a financial stability plan two weeks ago aimed at keeping banks afloat that it said could total some two trillion dollars. The Congress has already approved a separate 700-billion-dollar Troubled Asset Relief Program also largely to shore up ailing financial institutions.

"But while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade," Obama told a joint session of Congress.

"That would be worse for our deficit, worse for business, worse for you, and worse for the next generation. And I refuse to let that happen," Obama said.