Jamie Dimon, CEOs of banks criticized by lawmakers on inflation

In what has become an annual ritual, CEOs of major US banks appeared before Congress on Wednesday to sell themselves as pastors of a useful industry at a time of financial and economic hardship for many Americans.

Democrats called JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup in Washington to talk about portfolio problems as households struggle with higher inflation since the early 1980s and mid-term elections loom ahead. weeks.

“While COVID is behind us, the economic challenges we are facing are no less daunting,” said Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, in a prepared commentary for the hearing. The hearing erupted over the recession just before the Federal Reserve announced a 3/4 point hike in its benchmark interest rate as the central bank tried to contain inflation.

Though advertised as a hearing on daily finances, CEOs have been stuffed with political issues with Washington in the midst of an election year.

A burning issue was the issue of sales in gun shops. Earlier this month, major payment networks – Visa, Mastercard, and American Express – said they would begin classifying gun store sales as a separate merchant code. It’s a decision that gun control advocates have pushed, potentially to help capture rising gun sales ahead of a mass shooting.

“The work we do at JPMorgan Chase is important, in good times and especially in difficult times,” Jamie Dimon said in his opening address.
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Representative. Roger Williams, R-Texas, urged the bank’s CEOs to follow up on the payment networks’ decision. In response, all six CEOs said they would not stop legal arms sales and protect consumer privacy.

“We don’t want to tell Americans what to do with their money,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

The hearing took place before the House Financial Services Committee. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who focus on investment banking, will not testify this time. Instead, CEOs of three new banks were involved: Andy Cecere of US Bank, William Demchak of PNC Financial, and Bill Rogers Jr. or Fiducia.

Each of them runs “super regional” – banks that are huge in their own right, with thousands of branches and hundreds of billions in assets, but dwarfed in size by JPMorgan, BofA, Citi and Wells.

Wall Street CEOs have spoken of the current difficulties in the United States and the global economy. Along with Fraser, JPMorgan CEO and president Jamie Dimon, he gave a darker-than-normal perspective.

Dimon said Americans are currently “crushed” by inflation.

Dimon Wednesday.
Though advertised as a hearing on daily finances, CEOs have been stuffed with political issues with Washington in the midst of an election year.
Getty Images

Many Americans still remember bailing out the banking sector nearly 15 years ago, so CEOs have also used the platform to sell themselves as a force forever.

“The work we do at JPMorgan Chase is important, in good times and especially in difficult times,” said Dimon in his opening address. “We finance American ambitions with loans for homes, automobiles and small business growth and provide valuable products and services to more than half of American households.”

Eager to avoid the political headache that comes with being labeled as part of “Wall Street,” superregals used this hearing to sell themselves as a competitive “Main Street” alternative to Wall Street megabanks.

“We are one sixth the size of some banks in this panel,” said PNC’s Demchak.

A series of mergers has brought greater control for superregional ones. The US Bank is currently in the process of acquiring MUFG Union Bank, the US banking arm of the Japanese banking giant. Truist is the result of the merger of SunTrust and BB&T and PNC acquired the consumer banking franchise of Spanish bank BBVA.

“We are a responsible supplier that works for American consumers and the economy as a whole,” said Cecere of the US Bank in her prepared remarks.

The Wells Fargo boss typically faces tough questions from lawmakers due to the various scandals that have cost the bank billions of dollars in fines and forced it to operate under Federal Reserve supervision.

Wells CEO Charles Scharf said the bank has taken a number of steps to renew its culture. But committee chair Maxine Waters, D-California, was dubious, noting recent reports of the bank holding fake job interviews for women and that it has been imposed additional fines by financial regulators.

The CEOs will return to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

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