Bank CEO returns to parliament amid deep partisan divide


Washington – The CEO of the largest bank is scheduled to attend Congress on Wednesday to discuss how Wall Street has helped borrowers and businesses during the pandemic. Senators spent most of their hearings wanting to talk about hot political issues such as climate change, guns and the franchise, reflecting the deep partisanship between Democrats and Republicans.

The hearing before the Senate Banking Committee marks the start of the two-day hearing on Capitol Hill, which has been an annual event since the Democratic Party led Congress in 2019. The House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Thursday.

What’s wrong with hot buttons?

Banks emerge before Congress as the US economy recovers from a pandemic. The industry, which was blamed for the Great Recession over a decade ago, has spent most of 2020 and is now trying to collaborate with struggling borrowers and businesses and appear to be willing to cooperate in 2021. I do. will do. Banks across the country have waived fees and withheld millions of mortgages to support Americans’ poor finances during a pandemic.


Jane Fraser, the new CEO of Citigroup, said: “We are very different from the banks that plunged into the financial crisis more than ten years ago.

Most of those measures are now scrapped, and senators have asked the CEO to promise that no one will be forced into foreclosure or bankruptcy as a result of a pandemic after the bailout is over. Democratic senators also urged banks to increase diversity between the ranks and tackle systematic financial inequalities between black and Latino and white households.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, responded to a question about the quality of banks lending to minorities and the poor, saying, “From this whole committee we’ve heard that they’re trying to do more. “

Inequalities remain the biggest problem.

Brown criticized the CEO for banks cutting pandemic small business loans and buying back their shares. The Bank of America is repurchasing about $ 25 billion in stocks, while small and mid-sized stocks. He said he cut business loans by 14%. Moynihan stopped the attack and said, “The good news is you can do both.”


Dimon, who was questioned by Brown about the big gap between the bank’s CEO pay and the average employee’s salary, said, “I am very proud of the opportunity to offer it to all employees. ” ..

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has long criticized big banks, urged banks to understand why they were charging overdraft fees during the pandemic.

In a tense exchange, she called Dimon the “king of overdraft fees” and claimed that JP Morgan raised more than seven times the fees per account than its competitors.

“I think your numbers are completely inaccurate,” Dimon told him.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen corporate profits matter more to banks,” Warren said.

What are the Republicans talking about?

Senate Republicans have opposed issues such as tighter regulations and promoted programs created last year that have dominated the Senate, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.


Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a senior Republican member of the Panel, said the banking sector has shown remarkable resilience during the pandemic recession. However, he expressed his thoughts on cultural currencies among conservatives, saying he was concerned about “the acceptance of the revival” and the pressure on banks to promote social activity through banking practices.

“Capitalism has made the lives of the vast majority of Americans better than ever,” Toomy said.

Republican senators also pushed back a statement from a major bank on Republican efforts to limit post-election voting in 2020.

Senator Tim Scott (RS.C.) challenged the CEO of public opposition to Georgia’s new Republican election law. Critics say a radical rewrite of Georgia’s electoral rules has specifically restricted voters’ access to the vote, which has sparked a polarized political struggle that divides the country.


“What part of the law was discriminatory or restricted access?” Scott asked CEOs. “That did not prevent the vote.”

Who is the witness?

The CEO panel scheduled to testify this year is small and has changed slightly. Familiar faces include Dimon, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, and Brian Moynahan of Bank of America. The new face of the panel is Fraser, the first female CEO of a major bank.

Two CEOs of two banks, Bank of New York Mellon and State Street, have left. None of these banks had a consumer credit business, and going to Congress was considered a waste of time.

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