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World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab at a news conference in Cologny, Switzerland. - 


Bill Radke: Once a year, the alpine ski resort of Davos, Switzerland fills with presidents, prime ministers and celebrities -- all there for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. Wouldn't you think Wall Street's top bankers would be there, too? From London, Marketplace's Christopher Werth says that's a good question.

Christopher Werth: Last year, officials from top banks in the U.S. and Europe were conspicuously absent in Davos. They couldn't risk being seen living it up with Bono and Bill Clinton while cashing in on taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Andrew Hilton: It's all people who are larger than life, swishing around being terribly important to one another. You come out of it, I'm told, feeling like you've been licked all over by the rich and famous.

Andrew Hilton is with the CSFI think tank. With Obama's newest proposals for changing the way banks do business, Hilton says they can't afford to miss the chance to rub shoulders with regulators and politicians.

Hilton: Davos isn't just a big conference. Davos is a thousand small meetings, most of which are informal, most of which never make it outside Davos, really.

Bankers will likely use those more casual run-ins to quietly press for regulations that are much lighter than those currently being called for.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

Radke: And Marketplace will be in Davos all this week covering that economic conference.