Wall Road CEOs get warmth from Democrats, Republicans over social justice and ‘wokeism’ By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mixture file photograph reveals Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Financial institution of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive. REUTERS/File Pictures
By Pete Schroeder, Matt Scuffham and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Wall Road financial institution chiefs have been grilled by lawmakers over employee pay, government compensation, local weather change, wealth inequality, racial justice and the broader economic system as they appeared earlier than Congress on Wednesday throughout a regularly hostile listening to.
The chief executives of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:), Financial institution of America Corp (NYSE:), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:), Wells Fargo (NYSE:) & Co, Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) testified earlier than the Senate Banking Committee for the primary time because the coronavirus pandemic unleashed havoc final March.
Greater than a decade after the 2008 monetary disaster, the CEOs went into the listening to believing they’d a very good story to inform after meting out $69 billion of COVID-19 support to 850,000 struggling companies.
However they regularly discovered themselves beneath hearth from either side of the aisle, with Democrats criticizing the banks for not doing sufficient to assist on a regular basis People, and Republicans cautious of their rising assist for liberal causes.
Of their opening testimonies, the CEOs have been fast to spotlight their pandemic aid efforts, their establishments’ resilience, and initiatives’ to deal with variety and inequality.
“We entered this disaster from a place of power, and leveraged our measurement and scale to contribute to stability in our nation and ongoing assist for the ‘actual economic system’,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon mentioned.
Citigroup chief Jane Fraser, the primary girl to turn into a Wall Road financial institution CEO, acknowledged the urgent want to deal with “systemic inequities” together with racial injustice and wealth inequality.
Dimon and Fraser testified alongside Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, Properly Fargo’s Charles Scharf, Financial institution of America’s Brian Moynihan and Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon.
Whereas the hearings are unlikely to lead to new insurance policies, they’re politically dangerous for the CEOs as scrutiny of their trade grows beneath Washington’s Democratic management.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Wall Road critic who grew to become chair of the Committee following Democratic good points throughout the 2020 election, took a tricky line on the Wall Road bosses, saying their success navigating the pandemic was not sufficient.
“Beneath the present system, Wall Road income it doesn’t matter what occurs to staff, as a result of these income now come on the expense of staff,” he instructed the CEOs in his opening remarks, happening to ask the CEOs to justify their multi-million greenback paychecks and inventory purchase backs.
The CEOs additionally obtained warmth from progressive lawmakers over proof that lenders discriminated in opposition to some debtors when distributing pandemic support and continued charging prospects charges even because the lenders have been having fun with federal regulatory breaks.
JPMorgan’s Dimon bore the brunt of questioning on this entrance, with progressive firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren alleging that the nation’s largest lender cashed in on overdraft charges amid the pandemic, a declare Dimon strongly denied.
“You and your colleagues got here in immediately to speak about the way you stepped as much as assist your prospects throughout the pandemic. It is a bunch of baloney,” she instructed Dimon in a fiery alternate for which the Massachusetts Senator has turn into famend throughout hearings.
Republicans, alternatively, criticized Wall Road’s liberal leanings, criticizing the CEOs for attempting to drive social insurance policies by limiting financing for fossil-fuel firms and gun producers and by talking out in opposition to a brand new Georgia voting rights legislation.
“I’m involved about rising stress on banks to embrace ‘wokeism’ and appease the far Left’s assaults on capitalism,” mentioned Senator Patrick Toomey, the senior Republican on the panel.
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