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Dec 22, 2009 12:26 PM by Associated Press

Obama: Big opportunities for businesses to grow

President Barack Obama says businesses have "enormous opportunities" to start growing and hiring again if they can get the capital they need as the nation emerges from recession.

"We feel very optimistic that the worst is behind us," the president said.

The president spoke after meeting with leaders of a dozen small and community bankers. He lauded the smaller banks for their support of a priority of his, financial regulatory reform. And he said community lenders are largely not responsible for the risky behavior they helped crash the U.S. financial system.

Obama said White House efforts will be geared toward ensuring banks are regulated fairly, but not too restrictively, so they can help businesses grow.

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