Trump to discuss coronavirus response with Wall Street chiefs

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will meet with Wall Street executives on Wednesday to discuss the financial industry’s response to the coronavirus and the toll it is taking on small businesses, markets and the broader economy, the White House said.

The Trump administration in recent days has tapped financial regulators to assess financial resilience and unveiled a fiscal stimulus package in response to growing fears the spread of the highly contagious virus could push the U.S. economy into a recession.

“The president is very focused on what banks can do for businesses,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill during a hearing on Wednesday.

“We see no need for any intervention in the markets,” he added.

A White House official said Trump wants to hear the executives’ views of the economy and proposed stimulus package, which includes potential tax relief, paid family leave and small business assistance. The plan must be approved by Congress.

Uncertainty a divided U.S. Senate would pass such a package spurred another sell-off on U.S. stock markets on Wednesday. The S&P 500 .SPX index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI were each down about 5%, erasing the bulk of Tuesday’s gains.

Chief executives from Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), Truist Financial Corp (TFC.N) and U.S. Bancorp USB. will attend the meeting with Trump at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) in the White House.

Gordon Smith, co-president and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM.N) consumer and community banking division, will also attend the meeting in place of CEO Jamie Dimon, who is recovering from heart surgery.

U.S. banking regulators on Monday urged lenders to go easy on consumers and businesses who may have trouble repaying loans if coronavirus-related disruption causes businesses to lose revenue, close temporarily, or lay off staff.

On Wednesday, banks are likely to discuss how they can make the most of that regulatory flexibility through measures such as loan repayment holidays, waiving of some fees, low or no-cost loans, and suspending credit bureau reports on missed payments.

Some banks are already taking such action. Citi is waiving monthly account fees and penalties on certificates of deposit for customers affected by the outbreak and Goldman Sachs plans to give customers of its online bank Marcus an extra month to make payments on personal loans without additional interest.

Banks with large trading and investment businesses like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are expected to discuss how long and how deep they believe the coronavirus-driven market drop will go, as well as provide insight on how big corporations that they count as clients are feeling about the volatility.

“We are helping customers who contact us, as we always do,” a JPMorgan spokeswoman said. “Things we’ve done for customers (and small businesses) in past crises include things like fee waivers or refunds, changing due dates, extending credit lines.”

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