By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall
NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will meet with the heads of some of the largest U.S. banks on Wednesday to discuss the financial industry’s response to the coronavirus epidemic and the economic toll it is taking on small businesses, the markets and the economy, according to the White House press office.
The meeting comes as the government stepped up its response to escalating fears that the coronavirus strain could push the U.S. economy into a recession. The stock markets began the week by plunging more than 7%, triggering a 15-minute trading halt on Monday, before closing up nearly 5% on Tuesday after a day of wild swings.
Chief executive officers from Bank of America <BAC.N>, Citigroup <C.N>, Wells Fargo & Co <WFC.N>, Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> and Truist Financial Corp <TFC.N> all confirmed they will attend the meeting with Trump, which will be held at 3 p.m. in the White House cabinet room.
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 Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who is recovering from emergency heart surgery. Smith and co-president Daniel Pinto are serving as interim leaders of the largest U.S. bank by assets while Dimon recovers.
The retail bank executives are expected to discuss plans to waive some fees and offer other assistance to consumers and small businesses who are facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus. The virus’s rapid spread has some companies anticipating that they will have to close temporarily or lay off staff.
Citi is waiving monthly account fees and penalties on certificates of deposit for impacted customers, and Goldman Sachs plans to give customers of its online bank Marcus an extra month to make payments on personal loans, interest free.
Banks with large securities divisions and investment banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, are expected to discuss their estimations on how long and how much the coronavirus can cause markets to fall, as well as provide insight on how big corporations that the bank counts as clients are feeling about the volatility.
There are almost 1,000 cases of the virus across nearly three-quarters of U.S. states, and at least 30 people have died from complications related to the virus.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall and Imani Moise in New York)