| 21 June 2021, Monday | النسخة العربية

Wall Street bank CEOs face fee criticism in second round with Congress

Democratic legislators slammed the leaders of major U.S. retail banks again on Thursday, saying the financial firms should not have charged Americans billions of dollars in overdraft and other penalties during the pandemic.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc, and Wells Fargo CEOs testified before Congress for the second time this week, highlighting their banks’ efforts to eliminate fees and offer more affordable accounts after Senator Elizabeth Warren lambasted them over the expenses.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who bore the brunt of Warren’s ire during Wednesday’s Senate hearing, said his bank waived $400 million in overdraft fees for customers who asked for help since the pandemic began. Warren had slammed JPMorgan for gathering $1.46 billion in such fees.

She responded on Thursday, tweeting, “Only @jpmorgan would brag that they only charged about $1.5 billion in overdraft fees during a global pandemic and economic crisis, instead of the roughly $2 billion they usually take.”

In a statement, the Consumer Bankers Association said customers have to opt in for overdrafts and many do so because they “view it as a valuable service.”

Another Democratic opponent of Wall Street, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, expressed alarm on Thursday that banks have “raked in” fees “at a time when individuals and families across the country are struggling.”

Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney grilled Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf over the bank’s “predatory” overdraft fees on debit card transactions.

Wells Fargo is attempting to be “more consumer-friendly,” according to Scharf, who is trying to turn the bank around after a six-year sales tactics scandal. He claimed that the company had lately established an overdraft-free account, which he claimed is now “probably” its most popular.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the CEOs of Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley also testified.