WASHINGTON (AP) — In what has become an annual ritual, the CEOs of the major U.S. banks appeared in front of Congress on Wednesday sell themselves as shepherds of a helpful industry at a time of financial and economic distress for many Americans.
Democrats have called JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup to Washington to talk about pocketbook issues as households contend with the highest inflation since the early 1980's and the midterm election looms just weeks away.
“While COVID is behind us, the economic challenges we are now facing are no less daunting,” said Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, in remarks prepared for the hearing.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which focus on investment banking, are not testifying this time. Instead, the CEOs of three new banks will testify: Andy Cecere of U.S. Bank, William Demchak of PNC Financial and Bill Rogers Jr. of Truist.
Each of them run “super regionals,” banks that are huge in their own right, with thousands of branches and hundreds of billions in assets, but are dwarfed in size by JPMorgan, BofA, Citi and Wells.
While billed as a hearing on everyday finances, the CEOs are also likely to face difficult political questions with Washington in the midst of an election year. Republicans are almost certain to use the opportunity to ask about the tracking of gun store sales as well as whether banks should weigh in on hot-button social issues like student loan forgiveness. Democrats are likely to ask about Wall Street’s lending to oil and gas companies, racial and wealth equity issues, CEO pay and overdraft fees.
The first hearing is taking place before the House Committee on Financial Services, where Republicans quickly called into question the need for having the CEOs testify.
“It’s theatre, not oversight,”...