Barack Obama slammed for $575k Wall Street speech 'hypocrisy'

Barack Obama smiling bowtie
Barack Obama has had a frosty relationship with Wall Street in the past (File)

Former US President Barack Obama has copped a swift backlash after it was revealed that he accepted a US$400,000 (NZ$575,000) cheque for a speech at a Wall Street bank.

Mr Obama has now reportedly signed an agreement to speak at a Cantor Fitzgerald healthcare conference in exchange for the astronomical fee.

Many have called out Mr Obama for hypocrisy, as the 55-year-old was hugely critical of big banks during his tenure as President. His detractors have drawn attention to an interview with CBS in 2009, in which he said he "did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street".

In that same interview, he expressed disbelief that bankers remained puzzled as to why their customers were distrustful and disapproving, given that their staff - the "guys who caused the problems" - were given "US$10-20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it's gone through in decades".

However it now appears that Mr Obama has mended his fractious relationship with Wall Street, and will appear at the Cantor Fitzgerald conference later this year.

The New York Post says Mr Obama's speech makes him "Wall Street's newest fat cat", while Fox News said it made him a hypocrite and Vox claimed it "undermined" what he claimed to stand for as President.

The fee he will receive is substantially larger than the US$225,000 (NZ$324,000) that former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was given for her trio of speeches at Goldman Sachs in 2015.

Those speeches became a talking point during the 2016 election campaign, and were used as a political tool by her contender Donald Trump, who is now President.