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Bank CEOs get heat over social justice and 'wokeism'

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Sen. Sherrod Brown: "How did we end up here where CEOs are making 900x what some of their workers are making?"

Wall Street bank CEOs were grilled by lawmakers over worker pay, executive compensation, climate change and racial justice on Wednesday as they appeared before Congress during a frequently hostile hearing.

Sen. Warren: "You and your friends came here to talk about how much you helped customers, but it's a bunch of baloney!"

The CEOs got heat from progressive lawmakers - such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren - over evidence that lenders discriminated against some borrowers when distributing pandemic aid and continued charging customers fees even as the lenders were enjoying federal regulatory breaks.

Warren: "Mr Dimon, you are the star of the overdraft show. How much did JPMorgan collect in overdraft fees from their consumers in 2020?"

Jamie Dimon: "I think your numbers are totally inaccurate..."

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon testified along with the CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

The bank CEOs frequently found themselves under fire from both sides of the aisle - with Republicans wary of their growing support for liberal causes.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey: "I am concerned about increasing pressure on banks to embrace wokeism and appease the far left’s attacks on capitalism."

And with Democrats criticizing the banks for not doing enough to help everyday Americans.

Sen. Brown: "It's past time for the financial industry to be as good to the American people as the nation has been to you, the financial industry."

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan was asked why his bank's lending fell during the pandemic, while money was still spent on stock buybacks. He said this:

"The reasons why loans fell during the crisis is because businesses didn't need the credit but also because remember the PPP had a tremendous impact on demand for our clients and we did $35 billion of PPP loans that obviously caused less borrowing from our lines of credit."

The bankers are due to testify virtually again on Thursday before the House Financial Services Committee.

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