In what has become an annual ritual, the CEOs of the major U.S. banks appeared in front of Congress on Wednesday to sell themselves as shepherds of a helpful industry at a time of financial and economic distress for many Americans.
Democrats 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.
The hearing broke for recess just before the Federal Reserve announced a 3/4-point hike to its benchmark interest rate as the central bank tries to contain inflation.
While billed as a hearing on everyday finances, the CEOs have been peppered with political questions with Washington in the midst of an election year.
One hot button issue has been the issue of gun store sales. Earlier this month the major payment networks — Visa, Mastercard and American Express — said they would start categorizing gun store sales as a separate merchant code.
It’s a decision gun control advocates have pushed for, potentially to help catch surges of gun sales ahead of a mass shooting.