CHARLOTTE -- The Chief Executive Officer of BB&T is pointing the finger at Washington leaders for holding back the economy. Kelly King made those candid comments during the fifth annual Joint Luncheon on Entrepreneurship between Johnson C. Smith University and the Winston-Salem-headquartered bank.
"The image of the banking system is terrible. It's lower than lawyers," said King.
BB&T is the nation's 10th largest bank. King explained to the crowd what caused the financial meltdown.
"There were days where the system could've collapsed," said King.
King explained how the development of the unregulated shadow banking system created the mess. That is where mortgage brokers, not banks, made the loans and sold them worldwide. He said the meltdown gave all bankers a bad name.
"The banks have really taken it on the chin," said Kelly.
BB&T was first to pay back the controversial TARP. loans and was one of the few banks that never posted a quarterly loss. The self-declared "blue-dog Democrat" points the finger back at Washington for holding up the recovery.
"They have absolutely failed to lead," said King. "They are inhibiting are country from moving forward. I do know there is a lot at stake in this election because we need to have folks in Washington who believe in the fundamental belief in America."
King says banks are the cog in the wheel that grows the economy and increased regulation, including the Frank-Dodd act, is stalling economic growth.
"Part of the reason the economy is struggling is because the banking system is really gummed up," said King.
Despite the candid comments on politics, King remains bullish on America. "I believe the future looks bright and optimistic," said King. "I believe entrepreneurship and capitalism will be alive for many years to come."
The Winston-Salem-headquartered bank is the third largest in North Carolina and has 1,800 branches scattered primarily around the southeast.