© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co., arrives to testify ahead of a House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 Years After the Financial Crisis"
By Pete Schroeder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The heads of major U.S. retail banks were again criticized Thursday by Democratic lawmakers who said financial institutions should not have been allowed to bill Americans for overdrafts and other billions in fees during the pandemic.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE :), Bank of America (NYSE 🙂 CEOs testified before Congress for the second time this week. Citigroup Inc (NYSE 🙂 and Wells Fargo (NYSE 🙂 highlighted their banks' efforts to cut fees and offer cheaper accounts after Senator Elizabeth Warren attacked them about the cost.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who bore the brunt of Warren's wrath during Wednesday's Senate hearing, said his bank had waived $ 400 million in overdraft fees for customers who had asked for help since the pandemic began . Warren beat up JPMorgan for collecting $ 1.46 billion in fees.
She replied Thursday and tweeted, "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 normally make . "
A statement from the Consumer Bankers Association said customers must opt for overdrafts, and many do so because they "consider it a valuable service".
On Thursday, House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (NYSE :), another Wall Street Democratic critic, also voiced concerns that banks were charging fees at a time when individuals and families across the country are struggling.
Charles Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo, has been pressured by Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney to impose "predatory" overdraft fees on debit card transactions.
Scharf, who is trying to turn Wells Fargo around after its six-year scandal over sales practices, said the bank wanted to be "more consumer-friendly". He said it recently opened an overdraft which is "probably" the most popular right now.
The managing directors of Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE 🙂 and Morgan Stanley (NYSE 🙂 also testified on Wednesday and Thursday.
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