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Apr 10, 2019

Blankfein quips from sidelines as U.S. bank CEOs grilled by lawmakers

Jamie Dimon Says Financial Crisis Made Banks Safer


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A decade after the financial crisis, the chiefs of the largest U.S. banks faced a grilling from lawmakers on everything from income inequality to their ties to politically controversial industries.

The spectacle was enough to bring Lloyd Blankfein, who stepped down as chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS.N) last year, off the sidelines.

With lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee each getting five minutes to question the seven CEOs, the bank executives were consistently cut off when trying to give answers to the barrage of quick and often unconnected questions. The topics have spanned the political and banking spectrum, as ranking member Patrick McHenry called the gathering “a hearing in search of a headline.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM.N) CEO Jamie Dimon said his bank would consider developing a firm policy on dealing with gun manufacturers and supporting reform to overdraft fees. State Street Corp. CEO Ron O’Hanley called cyber risk a “clear and present danger” that will require cooperation among banks and regulators.

But the proceedings so far didn’t result in any meaningful calls for new legislation or pledges of change at the banks. The lenders discussed their ongoing efforts to improve diversity among their top ranks, policies on whether consumers can take them to court instead of arbitration, and their stances on dealing with industries like gunmakers and coal miners.

Shares of three of the seven banks involved in the hearing fell slightly as of 11:11 a.m. in New York, while the broader S&P 500 Index rose.