U.S. President Barack Obama called the heads of the nation's largest banks to the White House for talks Friday, in the latest effort to find ways to bolster the battered U.S. economy.

Earlier this week, the Obama administration proposed a plan to help troubled banks by using a government and private partnership to buy up to $1 trillion in bad loans and other "toxic assets" from them.  

Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged Congress to approve the administration's plan to expand the government's powers to monitor large financial firms.  

There may be some faint signs the effort is working.  Economic data published Friday shows consumer spending rose slightly and consumer sentiment improved a small amount in February.  

Economists track consumer spending and their views of the economy because consumer demand drives two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.